Until the late hours of 6 October, matters seemed relatively under control in Montreal, where a new leadership team at cash-strapped Bombardier seemed to have opened some financial breathing space.
With $3.1 billion in the bank and no major debt payments due until 2018, the transformation plan looked to be working, leaving management to focus on getting the CSeries through entry-into-service. Meanwhile, a revamped sales team redoubled efforts to secure elusive orders from marquee airlines and lessors.
Then came news that Airbus and Bombardier had broken off secret discussions – a revelation all the more stunning for showing that they had even met in the first place. After all, if Bombardier is not facing any imminent technical or financial threat within the CSeries programme, why did it now seek help from Airbus – a company that has spent the last several years bad-mouthing and conniving to defeat the CSeries?
And, if Airbus spurned an offer, what options does Bombardier have left?
But perhaps this is a case of smoke without fire. A planned stock market sale of a minority stake in the rail transportation division may save the day, financing the CSeries production ramp-up, paying off debt and, with luck, hauling in a new raft of major orders.
Or perhaps not. In either case, the next several months look to be a very eventful period in Montreal.
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Source: Flight International