Airbus S.E. will land its majority stake (50.01%) in the C Series narrow-body jet program on July 1, sooner than had been expected when the deal was announced in October 2017. Bombardier Inc., which developed the C Series program in partnership with a Quebec provincial development fund, will hold a 31% stake, and Investissement Québec (IQ) will hold 19%.
The C Series describes two twin-engine, medium-range aircraft designed by Bombardier Aerospace, the 108- to 133-seat CS100 and the 130- to 160-seat CS300. The latter started commercial service in July 2016, with Swiss Air, and the former in December 2016, with Air Baltic. A total of 402 C Series jets have been ordered to date, with 32 delivered so far.
The new C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) forecasts that the C Series is “positioned to capture a large percentage of the estimated 6,000 aircraft needed in this market segment over the next 20 years.”
The C Series competes for market share with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 series, and the partnership between Airbus and Bombardier has intensified the rivalry between Airbus and Boeing.
Airbus has indicated it will introduce greater efficiency to the program by enhancing the efficiency of the supply chain and improving access to customers. Notably, Airbus plans to expand C Series production by installing a new assembly line at Mobile, Ala., where it has been assembling A320 series aircraft for U.S. carriers since 2015.
"The strength of the entire Airbus organization will be behind the C Series,” stated Airbus CEO Tom Enders. "Not only will that enable this outstanding aircraft to fulfill 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 CSALP will be headquartered in Montreal, and Bombardier will continue its current funding plan for the program.