* Continues to aim for late-2013 launch -Beaudoin
* C-Series threatens other aircraft makers, he says
By Liana B. Baker and Allison Martell
NEW YORK, Feb 16 Bombardier Inc's
chief executive on Thursday said orders for the
Canadian aircraft maker's C-Series regional jet have been "as
good as we want and need" and that sceptics were wrong to
disparage the launch.
Speaking at an aviation industry event in New York, CEO
Pierre Beaudoin called out "naysayers" of the C-series program
in which the company has invested $3 billion to build its
biggest aircraft yet.
As an audience of airline executives sat around tables
decorated with scale models of C-series planes, Beaudoin
addressed concerns that Bombardier may have to push back the
date it would start delivery.
"As of today, we continue to drive for first delivery at the
end of 2013," he said.
Speaking to Reuters after the event, Beaudoin said he
did not want to minimize the task.
"I don't want to send a message that it won't be
delivered on time. I feel it will be," he said. "If you think of
what we have to do, it's very complex. I don't want to (say)
that it is easy and it will get done without any
The C-series competes directly with smaller regional planes
built by industry giants Airbus and Boeing Co.
Beaudoin said the company's progress in booking C-Series
orders should be compared with those for similarly sized Boeing
and Airbus models.
"When you compare apples to apples, we have outsold
competitors in the below 150-seat category and our order
trajectory is as good as we want and need it to be," he said.
Orders for the C-series got off to a slow start, with
the company coming up empty-handed at the 2010 Farnborough
Airshow in Britain. But orders had picked up somewhat by the
Paris Airshow a year later.
Beaudoin said Bombardier was now able to show potential
customers parts of the aircraft and could soon be able to show
the entire plane.
"The airplane is becoming real for us and prospective
customers, which makes it easier for them to commit," he
Asked about reports that major C-series customer
Republic Airways Holdings is concerned about
Bombardier's order progress, Beaudoin said his team had checked
in with Republic, whose subsidiaries include low-cost carrier
"It is a firm order and they are committed to go
through with the program and that's all I can tell you," he
WESTJET TURBOPROP TALKS
Bombardier said in January it was in talks with WestJet
Airlines Ltd about supplying Q400 turboprops for the
Canadian airline's planned 40-plane regional carrier.
Beaudoin said the Q400 would have an advantage in
Canada's tough weather and on speed. "We are well positioned,
but we will have to compete and win like anything," he said.
In July 2011 Bombardier said it would cut some 1,500
jobs at its plant in Derby, central England, after losing am
important rail contract to Germany's Siemens AG.
In December Bombardier won a smaller contract to supply
carriages to UK rail operator Southern. But when asked about the
plant, Beaudoin did not reveal any plans to hire back workers.
"We have no intention of closing the plants in Derby.
But we create work when we have work," he said. "We've had some
good contracts recently and it's a contracts business so it will
stay busy when we have work."