Airbus has firmed up a deal to acquire majority control of Bombardier’s C Series programme on July 1. The move, which the European manufacturer said has arrived earlier than anticipated, follows the two companies receiving all necessary regulatory approvals and the successful completion of final negotiations of the transaction.
Airbus will become the majority shareholder in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) with a 50.01% stake, Bombardier will control 31% and Investissement Quebec (IQ) will retain its 19% stake. The CSALP was formed in June 2016 by the Canadian manufacturer and the Government of Québec through its investment arm IQ, following a $1bn injection of state funds into the financially struggling C Series programme.
Tom Enders, Airbus chief executive officer, enthused: “This partnership extends our commitment to Québec and to all of Canadian aerospace, and we are very glad to welcome so many C Series team mates into the extended Team Airbus. The strength of the entire Airbus organisation will be behind the C Series. Not only will that enable this outstanding aircraft to fulfil its market potential, but we are convinced the addition of the C Series to our overall aircraft product offering brings significant value to Airbus, our customers and shareholders.”
The new partnership will be headed up by Philippe Balducchi, the former head of performance management at Airbus commercial aircraft, who will lead a management team of 12, six each from both companies, from a head office in Mirabel, Québec.
With the finalisation of the contract all parties are now expecting an increasing demand for the C Series – Bombardier handed over 17 aircraft in 2017 and plans to double that number this year – that could result in the opening of a second final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, dedicated to supplying US-based customers. The Canadian firm is forecasting a requirement for 6,000 new aircraft in the 100-150 seat market over the next 20 years and it believes the C Series is now well positioned to capture a significant percentage of this market.
Alain Bellemare, Bombardier president and CEO, commented: “This marks the beginning of a very exciting new chapter for the C Series and the Canadian aerospace industry. The C Series is widely recognised as the most advanced and efficient aircraft in its class and this partnership with Airbus will ensure its commercial success.”