Bombardier is hoping momentum from announcing Swiss International Air Lines as the launch operator for the CS100 combined with a certification process that is 70% complete will help it sell more CSeries aircraft, Bombardier President Fred Cromer told Aviation Daily.
Installed after a housecleaning of senior executives, Cromer has been on the job for only four weeks, while chief salesman Colin Bole only joined the company this week. The two are expected to change how Bombardier markets aircraft, but Cromer said it is too early for major strategy shifts. “We will take a little time to assess and adjust,” Cromer said May 12 at the Regional Airline Association convention here. For now, Cromer said the best plan is to show prospective customers the aircraft, so Bombardier will bring it to the Paris air show. “The plane is going to do exactly what we said it will do,” Cromer said, noting that Bombardier must “re-educate” the market about its performance characteristics. “Before, we were trying to sell a plane from paper.”
Bombardier now has six aircraft that have flown more than 1,600 hr., and the first CS100s will be delivered to Swiss next year, with 121 seats in two classes. The CS300s are also starting to fly, and Cromer said one recently flew 5 hr. at 41,000-ft. altitude.
At a conference in March, Steven F. Udvar-Házy, CEO of Air Lease Corp., said he has simple advice for Bombardier: “Sell, sell, sell, sell.” In a media briefing on May 12, Cromer agreed. “The emphasis going forward will be sales,” he said. There has been talk that lower fuel prices have made newer airplanes less attractive to carriers. But Cromer, a former executive at ExpressJet, Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines, said he doesn’t think a short-term dip in fuel costs will affect sales.
“Sustained low fuel prices is not something you can bet on,” Cromer said. “We don’t expect fleet-renewal plans to change because of a fuel prices.”
Meanwhile, Bombardier announced it is working with Pratt & Whitney to implement a streaming data service for the CSeries. The system will transmit real-time and recorded data from aircraft for use by maintenance and flight crews. “When the aircraft gets into the gate, traditionally what happens is a maintenance tech brings his or her laptop and enters an aircraft to download all the parameters that have been monitored,” said Todd Young, Bombardier vice president-customer service and support. “That takes a lot of time.”