There is a small grass fire burning in Canadian-American relationships over the sales ‘success’ of a tiny regional jet from Quebec which appears dead set to lose billions of dollars no matter how well it sells anyhow.
Crazy? Read on. It might even turn into a cause which spreads to Australia one day once second level jet flights in this country run out of viable alternatives to aging Boeing 717s and Fokker F100s.
The jet at the centre of the row, the Bombardier CSeries, is a high tech and much more efficient version of a 100-130 seat Boeing 737-600 or an Airbus A318, both rare beasts that the US and EU jet makers offered airlines prepared to lose money flying cut down versions of their single aisle jets in order to serve low demand niche markets.
However the CSeries family hasn’t yet sold anything like the number of aircraft needed to survive without ‘assistance’ from the Canadian or provincial Quebec governments, and as this report from Bloomberg describes, scored a deal with Delta south of the border at a price Boeing, and presumably Airbus, found ‘unattractive’.
Then the Trump presidency arrived on the scene, and Boeing began agitating for anti-dumping sanctions against Bombardier, and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau decided to put the future of Boeing’s F/A 18 fighter bomber on the line, which is a bit like threatening to shoot the appendages off someone over a bit of queue jumping at a beach side lemonade stand.
Bloomberg has elevated the issues into a biblical scale challenge to Boeing’s rightful place in the firmament, risking bringing another Airbus into the world.
But no-one, so far, seems to have stepped back and asked what the Boeing attack on Bombardier actually means.
It means that Boeing says its American customers should have to buy their inferior older technology offering for a next-to-useless cut down 737 (whether a MAX or an NG) instead of a brand new cutting edge hi-technology design.
Delta, apparently, should pay more for a less capable jet, because, hey “It’s a Boeing.” Or just buy a Bombardier jet for a price that Boeing, rather than the customer, finds comfortable.
It’s possible that the out-of-control dimensions of this punch up in the playground have yet to be fully explored.