I highly doubt predictions that this aircraft is a loser is anywhere near the mark.
I guess it's how you define "loser". From a financial perspective, using Bombardier's own numbers, the CSeries is pretty much a guaranteed loser.
For the next 20 years (through 2034), Bombardier is forecasting the total market size for 100-150 seat commercial aircraft to be 7,000 deliveries.
Even assuming Bombardier wins fully half of this market -- an unbelievable 3,500 aircraft** -- they will have negative ROI for the full 20 year period. (If they are not selling at loss, at Bombardier's own target margins, and splitting any income with Quebec 51%-49%).
**To put things in perspective, the grand total of CRJ deliveries across all models is less than 1,800 units. They can almost double the CRJ deliveries and still be at negative ROI. Such is the heavy price of wasting billions of dollars down the drain.
Bombardier might be able to "break even" in CSeries manufacturing in < 5 years, but they will never recoup their investment back.
And that's before any additional "investment" from the Ottawa. If as expected Ottawa puts more money in, then any future income must again be split with Ottawa in addition to Quebec, in whatever form (dividends, loan interest, etc.) Bombardier's share to recoup any invested money becomes smaller and smaller.
That's also not counting any "collateral" damage the CSeries program has done to Bombardier. E.g., having to sell 30% of the rail business (and associated future income) to prop up the aerospace business; forced cancellations of other programs to save money; the cost of carrying Bombardier $9+ Billion debt with a junk credit rating; the cost of relinquishing the RJ market to Embraer, etc., etc.
Any look at the public order book shows how tenuous the orders are--Republic can't take theirs; Porter probably won't take theirs; the leasing companies haven't made any announcements of placements; Odyssey is a crowd-funded start-up, which along with Privat-Air are trying to make a run at BA out of LCY. The first half of the book could easily cancel. The price, regardless of any discounts, is simply to high for the financial and operational risk a buyer takes. What airline would bet the plane and company are around in 10 years?
The collateral damage has been huge, as peekay points out. Plus the wasted money on the LR85 and the C has closed options to develop what really needs doing--a replacement for the Challenger 605; updates to the Globals and getting the G7000 in service on its original schedule. They're losing on both commercial and corporate sides.
Republic can't take their's? Interesting. I wonder why not? Never mind the Frontier explanation, I know about that. If they can't, won't, or don't take them, they could have cancelled their order 3 years ago. They didn't. Cancelling now will be expensive. They could have cancelled 2 years ago. They didn't. They could have a year ago. Didn't happen. 6 months ago. Nope. Now that it's certified they have to hand over their first in$tallment, if they haven't already. Still a lot of money (for nothing?) I'm thinking they'll sell or lease them but I'd be surprised if they didn't take them. In any event, CSeries is not a scope issue as it is not a regional jet. The 650 (605) is the NextGen Challenger. No need to get rid of it. B737 NG follows a similar rationale for its existence. If it ain't broke, upgrade the engines and avionics. GX 7 and 8 thousand a little late but awesome. Gulf Stream will undoubtedly sell as neither version of the GX is being delivered at present but I doubt BBD won't catch up to them. I don't see them keeping Lear. It doesn't fit into the BBD product line.
Republic can't take their's? Interesting. I wonder why not? Never mind the Frontier explanation, I know about that. If they can't, won't, or don't take them, they could have cancelled their order 3 years ago. They didn't. Cancelling now will be expensive. They could have cancelled 2 years ago. They didn't. They could have a year ago. Didn't happen. 6 months ago. Nope. Now that it's certified they have to hand over their first in$tallment, if they haven't already. Still a lot of money (for nothing?)
Willie, it's the CS100 that's been certified. Republic's orders are all for CS300s. They won't have to pay a dime extra because the CS100 has been certified!
As explained earlier elsewhere, Republic has incentive to hold on to their order as long as possible. Why? Because of the continuing schedule slippage from Bombardier. More deadlines missed by Bombardier likely means more contractual outs for Republic.
Not to mention, no one has ordered any CSeries since 2014. Until there's more certainty around CS300 deliveries, there's no one Republic can sell their slots to. Conversely, if CS300 orders pick up later in the year, then Republic's early delivery slots become more valuable. So they are content playing the waiting game.
And, the CSeries is absolutely a scope issue. Under current agreements Republic cannot fly them for any of their mainline partners (United / Delta / American).
Why do you think United is considering buying the CSeries themselves for mainline ops? There is no chance that United's unions will let Republic fly a 130+ passenger jet under the United Express banner, especially since it's not an RJ.
After Republic sold Frontier, Republic's plan was to start up a NEW domestic airline -- under a new AOC -- to fly the CS300 under a point-to-point business model. But that was before everything imploded.
Now Republic has done a 180 turn, aiming to consolidate operations into a single certificate, which effectively precludes the CSeries. So that's why Republic will not take their CS300 deliveries: because there is no longer a place for them in Republic's business model.
For Bombardier, the "best case" scenario is for United to pick up these CS300s. However, rumors say Boeing is offering United a sweet deal that's tough to refuse.
United, Southwest buy 73 Boeing jets in blow to Bombardier
United Airlines (UAL.N) said on Thursday it will buy 40 small planes from Boeing Co (BA.N), dealing a $3.2 billion blow to Bombardier Inc's (BBDb.TO) hopes of landing a major customer for its fledgling CSeries program.
Separately, Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) said it had ordered 33 of Boeing's 737-800 aircraft, a deal it struck in December but announced on Thursday.
The CS100 and CS300 are not scope issues because I keep saying this, and not many seem to be paying attention, but I'll say it again, NO REGIONAL AIRLINE IN THE UNITED STATES WILL EVER FLY CSeries. Making this aeroplane ANYTHING BUT a scope issue.
Frontier, or Republic or whatever survival reconfiguration name this company results in will use their 300s for profit as long as BBD doesn't devalue those units by deep discounting them to make a sale in the months ahead. (Which I believe they will do) They might even put it into service as an airline (but not as a REGIONAL airline unless they sever all ties with a mainline partner) I already know that but thanks for your comments. Republic will take delivery of their 300s (unless they cancel those orders). Whether or not the aircraft show up on Republics ramp is another matter. The aircraft delivery may be nothing more than paperwork.
United got a ridiculous deal on an out of production model of the B737. It fits into their fleet of domestic aircraft. OF COURSE they're going to purchase the B737-700. Delta will likely do the same for the same reasons. But consider this, it may be a blow to BBD but it's also a blow to Airbus. Right?
Americans have decided "to make America great again". With a "Made in America" protectionist attitude growing, it's a good thing Airbus opened a shop in the U.S. I doubt the CSeries will put much of a dent in that ever protected airline market.
Another comment I consistently make is to point out that the CSeries IS NOT a regional jet, yet so many continue to use references to Embraer and Mitsubishi (not to mention others) when comparing this aircraft and its competition. Scope clauses will continue to be an obstacle for Embraer and Mitsubishi. Not BBD. If you look at the seat segment the CSeries is marketed at there is no one in that segment. Yet the sceptics like to argue simply based on segment overlap to drag other OEMs into the picture. That's nothing more than reality of competition.
There is a global economic downturn on the horizon and A and B have set themselves up for ridiculous customer expectations and supply chain expectations. It's going to continue to be a rough ride for BBD but I'm pretty sure they will undoubtedly sell more of this aircraft. Don't think it's not going to be a rough ride for the big guys.
P.S. Southwest ordered 33 B737-800s in "a blow to Bombardier" but not to Airbus? Well, to reiterate, the A320 or A319 doesn't fit into SW's fleet or fleet planning. As for the CS300, it doesn't compete in the 800's seat segment AND certainly doesn't fit into any of SW's fleet planning. WOW, what a surprise?!!
Last edited by Willie Everlearn; 22nd Jan 2016 at 14:55.
how Bombardier would like to position the CSeries, vs.
how the Market is actually positioning the CSeries
Those are two very different things. Bombardier spec'd the CSeries as a "middle-market" jet in between the RJ and mainline service. But unfortunately for them, the aviation market today in 2016 is very very different than the target market envisioned by Bombardier back in 2004.
Specifically, that targeted mid-market gap may no longer exists (if it existed to begin with). This mid-segment has been called "the Bermuda triangle" of the aviation market.
So reality has forced Bombardier to compete in the two traditional segments: downwards to the RJ segment and upwards to the mainline segment.
Instead of "owning the gap", the CSeries must now fiercely compete against Embraer, Mitsubishi, Sukhoi on the low end, and against Airbus + Boeing on the upper end. The low price of oil also means the CSeries must compete against both older / heavily discounted models and vs. new / improved designs.
The CSeries is on "no man's land". That's why it's very hard for Bombardier to sell them. Too much aircraft for the low end, yet not well positioned to compete against the upper end.
And this is also why the United deal is specifically a blow to Bombardier. The deal once again re-enforces that there is no mid-market for the CSeries to own. The incumbents are comfortable competing in their own domains.
The CSeries depends on airlines developing new business models which can take advantage of its unique positioning (e.g., long range point-to-point service between underserved airports). But what we're seeing is that most major airlines are NOT interested in developing new business models. Instead they are looking to increase efficiency and/or lessen dependence on less profitable partnerships, within existing operating models.
Can Republic or another entity still create a new point-to-point US domestic airline? Will Porter create a national jet service excluding Toronto Island? Might Air Canada give the CSeries a second look, e.g. for Rouge? Sure, but the program cannot survive depending on long shot initiatives.
Great post. I couldn't agree with you more except the market analysis part. I know, market analysis is mostly a crap shoot, but there you go, and pass the dice.
If I accept the notion the market today is NOT what these guys envisioned years ago, on the face of it, I suspect you're right. But, it soon will be what was envisioned years ago simply because I believe airlines (legacy airlines that is) will be, out of necessity, adjusting their business models and I further believe the scope "speed bump" will ensure that. (even BBD have significantly reduced RJ production, anyone notice? I don't think they see the RJ competition with MRJ and EMB as including them any more) I can't imagine UA, DL, AA, not trying or wanting to get rid of the "headache" Regional Airlines give them. To even try to bring that flying and those services back in-house will undoubtedly take something like a CSeries. Not a scoped out aeroplane (like MRJ and EMB), because CSeries is simply not a regional jet and not as heavy as those A and B modified alternatives.
The rest of this notion is still tumbling around in my head but I believe the grown ups will if they aren't already trying to formulate how to go about it.
Lots of Boeing out-of-production 37s out there at ridiculous prices. Any CEO or CFO would be insane to pass them up. Even with the short term gain for long term pain aside. For this reason alone I expect DL will go for a mix of Airbus and Boeing and walk away from Bombardier. As a long time Bombardier customer, they're simply being polite by saying they're "extremely interested" in the aeroplane, when in fact, the remark may not be as sincere as BBD may hope.
GF apparently are heading to Montreal in the weeks ahead as they prepare their fleet renewal announcements for the Bahrain air show. It sounds like we could see them walk away from this aircraft as well.
If any or all of this comes to be reality, I doubt it will be the end of the CSeries. I will hold that opinion until Swiss have operated the aircraft for six months to a year. CSeries will be measured by that entry into service and word-of-mouth satisfaction or dissatisfaction until an American airline has operated it for at least a year. Which won't be any time soon based on present deliveries. I don't look for CSeries to be a success immediately, it may not be. But I still believe it will be a success which is the essence of our exchange.
Last edited by Willie Everlearn; 23rd Jan 2016 at 22:17.
I'm thinking the regionals will continue to have a large presence as long as the primary airline business model remains hub & spoke. That's because this model requires a secondary low-cost "feeder" network, and it's more efficient to let the regionals operate this low-cost network while the majors concentrate on their "core" business.
In my mind there could be a future market for what Republic had wanted to do (build a new p2p airline). However, consumers today are very price sensitive, and the economics to start up and efficiently scale such an airline (while competing against the incumbents) will be extremely difficult. With their troubles, I doubt Republic has the resources or will to start up a new airline, and I don't see other players eager to jump in either.
The irony in Canada is when we see possible new entrants like NewLeaf -- the CSeries in theory could be the perfect aircraft for such an operation. But in reality the numbers are just not working out for Bombardier. Low oil prices, viability of used / older aircraft, the possible economic downturn in Canada, etc., are all hurting the program.
Even for Porter -- if they still want to pursue a national jet market -- they might be better served procuring larger aircraft from Airbus or Boeing now that CYTZ is no longer a factor.
Bombardier stock is in a free-fall today, currently -10% intraday at 0.89 cents after breaching the $1.00 barrier yesterday for the first time in 25 years. The stock is down 68% since this time last year.
Bombardier's entire market cap is now valued at just USD $1.2 billion ($1.7B CAD).
This gives perspective into Quebec's USD $1 billion investment for 49.5% of the CSeries program, which now looks significantly overvalued even before the first payment has taken place.
For outside investors, any additional "investment" or "loans" from the Ottawa will put even further pressure on the stock price. The Liberals need to come to an agreement soon with Bombardier to give clarity not only to investors but to Bombardier's potential customers.
There is now the risk that Bombardier stock may be removed from the Toronto Stock Exchange composite index if it remains below the $1.00 through the end of February. Removal would trigger automatic selloff of BBD stock.
Is Bombardier now a more attractive takeover target? Bombardier execs have indicated that they are looking at "all options". Yet with negative income, $9 billion in debt and $3 billion+ in future interest payments, it's still hard to see a white knight stepping in. The best option for a potential suitor or partner is simply to wait.
Bombardier still has significant assets (including cash) and can still make a turnaround. But the remaining runway is getting shorter and shorter.
Bombardier will announce the Q4 and year-end financial report tomorrow, and it's not going to be pretty.
But the market is already expecting bad news and has priced the shares accordingly. In fact BBD.B is up today, back to 90 cents, partly in anticipation that tomorrow's report won't be any worse than predicted.
The issues facing Bombardier, however, have not changed. They have to get their stock above the C $1.00 mark, possibly through reverse split. They have to get additional liquidity, e.g. from the Federal or Quebec governments. They have to fix their governance issues. They have to start closing major deals.
It's hard to believe they can't close one lousy deal from a major airline this year. That's all they need to thread water and stay alive.
That's all they need to thread water and stay alive
Of course Bombardier will stay alive, because their people have a passion for winning, strong integrity, committed to excellence. Cseries is designed and built with no compromise, best technology, best materials, the highest standards of safety and quality, a proud Canadian made:
A source told me today there were many back door meetings with the provincial and federal governments. Im sure some type of subsidy was given to Bombardier to reduce the price of its CSeries to AC even further, its not the way any company should run, more like a band-aid solution. Its great news for the company long term i guess. Whats amazing is that CSeries has a shorter takeoff/landing capability than the CRJ impressive, if only Porter could further push for expanding that runway in DT Toronto!.
I hear Delta is looking into the Cseries as well, it'll be interesting to see the dog fight between Bomb. EMB and the MRJ in the next few years, for Bomb., it sucks 7000 people gotta lose their jobs because managements vision didn't match their strategy.