Bombardier seeks greater presence in China

FARNBOROUGH, Brittain - Bombardier Inc. aims to bolster its presence in China, both as a seller and a supplier.

"Bombardier will play an increasing role in China," CEO Pierre Beaudoin said today after signing a long-expected agreement with state-owned China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC 1) to build the centre fuselage for the CSeries family of jets.

Bombardier already has 3,000 employees in China.

Over the next 20 years, AVIC estimates the Chinese market will need 3,110 commercial airplanes, including 2,232 for the mainline market and 878 for the regional market.

Bombardier's choice of AVIC was, in part, to improve the company's chances of securing orders from Chinese carriers. Reports circulated that China Southern and Shanghai Airlines will announce orders for the CSeries family of 110 to 130 seat jets.

"We would be very happy to help Bombardier with CSeries orders," Yawei Wang, AVIC's vice president, commercial airplanes, said today at a press confrerence.

Last year, Bombardier announced a preliminary deal with AVIC to supply the centre fuselage for CSeries.

AVIC has pledged $400 million for the program.

At a press conference today, Wang wouldn't give a specific number, saying only that the investment would be in the order of "hundreds of millions of dollars."

AVIC manufactured 90 per cent of the structure of China's 90-seat regional jet, the ARJ21.

AVIC also intends to participate in the building of a larger Chinese jet with over 150 seats.

Beaudoin said AVIC wouldn't be competing against itself by participating in the CSeries program.

(The Gazette)

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