Back before Bombardier bet the farm on the CSeries, its interest in commercial aviation was confined to regional aircraft.
With the CRJ family and Q400 twin-turboprop, the airframer had carved out a modest niche.
But with the 1 July transfer of a majority stake in the CSeries to Airbus, Bombardier finds itself back to square one. The Canadian airframer is talking up the prospects for both its remaining types, but this is clearly making a virtue out of a necessity.
Crucially, Bombardier is not proposing major upgrades for either aircraft: its ambition appears limited to cabin improvements, rather than changes to their airframes or engines.
But disruption is coming to the sector. New entrants, potentially including Embraer with a turboprop, along with the likely arrival of electric or hybrid propulsion, present a huge challenge to manufacturers unwilling or unable to invest.
Both types are still selling, although not in any great quantity: prior to two recent US deals, the backlog for the CRJ family had stood at just 36 units.
If the future of the two product lines is finite, then Bombardier has some tough decisions to make: after the CSeries, how much does it want to remain in commercial aviation? And would it, or its shareholders, be willing to pay to do so?
Source: Flight International