Chinese Aircraft Maker COMAC Set to Invest in Canada’s Bombardier Aircraft Company

By Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta , | May 19, 2017

C919.

C919.

Bombardier, Inc., Canada's financially troubled aerospace firm and its largest maker of commercial passenger jets, is set to absorb a considerable investment from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), which is owned by the Chinese communist government.

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Bombardier and COMAC signed a strategic cooperation agreement in 2012 that's seen them collaborate on common systems for COMAC's C919, a narrow-body twinjet airliner currently being flight tested and scheduled for commercial introduction in 2020, and other C-series aircraft. The partnership included working together on cockpit and electrical systems, as well as the supply chain.

Western media reports said COMAC and Bombardier have held discussions that will see COMAC either buy a stake in Bombardier's problem-ridden commercial aircraft division or its next generation C-Series airliner program.

"Everything is on the table," said a source familiar with the talks.

No decision is "imminent," however.

Bombardier's commercial aircraft division has struggled to recover the billions of dollars invested in the development of passenger jets intended to compete against the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of airliners, but without success.

The Bombardier C Series, which has been praised for its technologies, has been hit by delays and poor sales. As a result, Bombardier has been forced to accept some $3 billion in bailouts from the government of Quebec government over the past two years.

The government of Quebec's $1 billion investment saved the C Series and Bombardier from collapse.

Quebec now owns a 49.5 percent stake in a new limited partnership controlling the C Series program, which could complicate any deal with the Chinese. That investment is now the subject of a trade complaint by Boeing.

The probable investment from COMAC will be a huge boost to Bombardier's sagging financial fortunes.

On the other hand, a deal will help COMAC receive more Bombardier supporton technology development, engineering and global customer support. That might speed-up COMAC's manufacturing capabilities.

 

 

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