Composites Manufacturing Magazine

Airbus Acquires Majority Stake in Bombardier C Series

Airbus and Bombardier have announced their new partnership regarding Bombardier’s signature C Series aircraft. Airbus will acquire a 50.01% interest, while Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ) will own approximately 31 percent and 19 percent respectively. According to the companies, the deal brings together Airbus’ global reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest, state-of-the-art jet aircraft family, positioning both partners to fully unlock the value of the C Series platform and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.

Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series. CSALP’s headquarters and primary assembly line and related functions will remain in Québec, with the support of Airbus’ global reach and scale. Airbus’ global industrial footprint will expand with the Final Assembly Line in Canada and additional C Series production at Airbus’ manufacturing site in Alabama.

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said the acquisition extends the company’s product offering into the fast-growing 100-150 seat market sector. The current Airbus A320, a rival for the C Series, is for 180 passengers or more. Airbus hasn’t sold an A320 in three years.

The deal also helps Airbus compete with Boeing in the single-aisle market. During the 2017 Paris Air Show, Boeing made waves when it unveiled details about its highly-anticipated midsize aircraft, which many in the industry are calling the “797.” The 797 jet fills a gap between Boeing’s single-aisle 737 workhorse and its advanced long-range 787. Like the 787 Dreamliner, the 797 will have an all-composite fuselage.

Similarly, Bombardier’s C Series features advanced composites in its wings, empennage and rear fuselage. Bombardier says composites help reduce weight and increase corrosion resistance, resulting in better maintainability. Advanced structural materials also deliver weight savings that result in considerable fuel burn advantages. It has marketed the plane as being 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the comparable Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. According to Airframer.com, the C Series receives composite materials from six major suppliers, including Toho Tenax and Solvay/Cytec.

“This is a win-win for everybody! The C Series, with its state-of-the-art design and great economics, is a great fit with our existing single-aisle aircraft family and rapidly extends our product offering into a fast growing market sector. I have no doubt that our partnership with Bombardier will boost sales and the value of this programme tremendously,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. “Not only will this partnership secure the C Series and its industrial operations in Canada, the U.K. and China, but we also bring new jobs to the U.S. Airbus will benefit from strengthening its product portfolio in the high-volume single-aisle market, offering superior value to our airline customers worldwide.”