Jan 18, 2014

Wait and see CSeries worries investors, customers

The publicist effect which worked so badly for Boeing when the Dreamliner was constantly on-time but kept slipping until it was more than three years late entering service is starti

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Prototype CSeries 100 on first flight: Wiki Commons by Alexandre Gouger

The publicist effect which worked so badly for Boeing when the Dreamliner was constantly on-time but kept slipping until it was more than three years late entering service is starting to work its magic for Canadian airliner manufacturer Bombardier and its CSeries jet.

This week it put the entry into service of the initial version, the CSeries 100, back by around a year. Given the reliability of PR statements from the Quebec based company, that’s a minimum slip of one year. From the aviation gallery, the term the ‘wait and see CSeries’ began to circulate. Cruel and simplistic as a catch cry? For sure.

But that’s beside the point when companies, in aviation or any other activity, allow their image to fall into the hands of professional spinners who quickly start to look like liars as delays mount up, and reporters rewind the tapes so to speak, and discover unconditional protestations as to the the stellar performance of the airliner that may be in question, as well as its delivery timetable.

Among the many stories the CSeries official delay caused in the media abroad, this story in the Wall Street Journal stands out for being fair, detailed, and ….. undoubtedly tough, and with good reasons.

One matter also stands out in other stories. Bombardier is apparently continuing to insist that the larger CSeries 300 will be ready for service less than a year after the CSeries 100 enters service.  That seems like an optimistic claim.

In Australia the CSeries could replace Fokker F100s, Boeing 717s and Boeing 737-700s, except that the last named are being replaced by 737-800s anyhow as growth puts upward pressure on average airliner sizes for various categories of routes in this country.

There is no realistic prospect, at this stage, of the established carriers, Qantas and Virgin Australia, having the money or inclination to place any such order much before about 2018 or 2019. By then the CSeries will have either delivered handsomely on the original promises, or failed for technical and financial reasons.

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3 thoughts on “Wait and see CSeries worries investors, customers

  1. ghostwhowalksnz

    Well, at least it is flying, something that Boeing struggled with intially.
    Every new or revised aircraft is delayed these days. A380, B747-8, B787, A350, CS100.

    They are in good company.
    Bombardier has come a long way from its days as Canadair when it put Rolls Royce Merlins on DC4s. A higher cruising speed for the Northstar but apparently the noise inside the cabin was over 100dB.
    The technology advances for this company, Al-Li fuselage but with a carbon fibre wing (Al spars) will take a bit of time to sort out

  2. Zarathrusta

    Yes, flying not burning. Always a good start.

  3. derrida derider

    Ben’s right about the chronic failure of sales departments to see that its always better in the long run to underpromise and overdeliver than the reverse. From this distance it seems the problem is not actually the long development time, which was ALWAYS going to happen in such a leap in airplane size and complexity for this company. It was the dumb promise of a short development time.

    Bombardier has made a a marketing mistake but (unlike the A380 and Dreamliner) there’s no real evidence of engineering mistakes. The CSeries could yet be a big success.

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