Bombardier, Comac contemplating aero cooperation

Canada's Bombardier and China's Comac are discussing a partnership on production of narrow-body jets. Bombardier is working on the CSeries and Comac is working on the C919. Composites are used in both.

Bloomberg reported on Oct. 11 that aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) hopes to decide by the end of 2011 whether to move ahead on a potential partnership with Commercial Aircraft Corp. (Comac) of China on production of narrow-body jets, the head of the Canadian company’s aerospace unit said.

According to the report, Bombardier's Guy Hachey, head of the company's aerospace unit, said the two companies are developing a memorandum of understanding through which they might share features between Bombardier’s planned CSeries aircraft and the Chinese maker’s C919. The planes, both single-aisle commercial designs that will compete with the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320, are being built with similar materials, so there may be opportunities in purchasing components and working with suppliers, he said.

The report notes that the C919 will be larger than the CSeries, so those models would be complementary rather than competitive, Hachey said in an interview. He also told Bloomberg that the company is pressing to meet its timetable for the CSeries to enter service in 2013. The top areas of concern are the fly-by-wire cockpit controls, the avionics, the electrical system, the composite wing and the fuselage that’s being built in China.

Hachey says, “We’ve used up a lot of our contingency in terms of time, so we are up against a wall in terms of meeting our schedule,” he said. “I don’t see a major miss, if we do have a miss.” He reiterated that the CSeries is on track for its maiden flight by the end of 2012 and first delivery, to a yet- undisclosed customer, by the end of 2013.

Information: Click here for original Bloomberg report.