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Bombardier forges ahead in Asia-Pacific

Mike Martin

Bombardier Aerospace has enjoyed a record year for deliveries and is heading for a profitable year, John Lawson, president, sales said at the show yesterday.

The Canadian manufacturer has "assumed a leadership role" in Asia-Pacific, he says. "We have 50 business aircraft operating in the area and well in excess of 100 regional aircraft. We have achieved some special relationships with industries in Asia-Pacific."

In 1999, Bombardier delivered 292 aircraft, up from 227 the year before. That 30% increase is complemented by a major increase in its order backlog. It's now worth $19 billion, up from $16 billion the year before.

In the area of business aircraft, the rise has been particularly strong. Last year the company delivered 183 aircraft, up from 113 the year before, a rise of 61%.

Bombardier began forging relationships in the region 20 years ago and they have evolved into strategic alliances, says Lawson. While the economic picture worldwide remained strong, the Asia-Pacific region has bounced back from its problems of 1997-98.

Leadership

Bombardier stakes its claim to market leadership in the region on the grounds that it captured all available regional jet and turboprop orders for the market segments it operates in. It has won 23 orders in the last 13 months.

China is a market that remains mostly untapped by the regional manufacturers. But Bombardier is making in-roads, announcing the sale of five CRJ200 regional jets to Shandong Airlines (the launch customer) and three CRJ200s to Shanghai Airlines.

Bombardier also points out that it broke the mould by becoming the first Western company to buy aircraft components from China's aerospace industry. Xian Aircraft has been producing sub-assemblies for Bombardier's amphibious firefighting aircraft (now the Canadair 415) for 20 years.

Two CRJ200s were also sold to Japanese start-up Fair in what Trung Ngo, vice-president, marketing, Regional Aircraft, terms "...a significant deal because they will change the way aircraft are deployed in Japan."

He adds that the recovery from the economic problems in the region is likely to benefit Bombardier's product portfolio. "From the airline standpoint, we are seeing a process of right-sizing coming into focus. We are seeing the airlines looking in terms of replacing aircraft. We are very bullish about the market."

Bombardier has forged industrial partnerships with Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which designs and builds the wings and centre fuselage for the Global Express ultra-long range aircraft.

In Singapore, Bombardier has established spare parts depots to serve operators throughout Asia-Pacific, while the emerging importance of Taiwan's economy has seen a programme partnership set up with Aerospace Industries Development (AID). AID will design and build the horizontal stabiliser, vertical stabiliser and rear fuselage for the new Continental business jet.

* Bombardier has two aircraft being shown at Asian Aerospace for the first time - the Global Express and the Lear 45.

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