Airbus CEO confident of CSeries sales
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders is making no effort to temper expectations for his company’s partnership with Bombardier. In an interview on BNN, Enders said he sees no reason the CSeries can’t capture massive market share, in spite of the bitter trade dispute brought forward against Bombardier by Boeing.
“The priority is to make the CSeries a roaring success, and we’ll have all hands on deck at Bombardier and Airbus,” he said. “Look, 6,000 aircraft out there in the next 20 years, why wouldn’t we be able, if we work together the way we intend to do, to capture at least 50 per cent of that market? That would be huge.”
Enders said he believes his growth projections are attainable due to the greater certainty Airbus brings to the program.
“One of the dark clouds hanging over the CSeries that hampered sales was, for many airlines, it wasn’t clear what the future was. Will the CSeries continue, will it survive, what are Bombardier’s plans?” he said. “Now that it’s firmly part of the Airbus product family, all these dark clouds are dissipating and we will see people taking a much more positive attitude.”
The deal, announced on October 16, gives Airbus a 50.01 per cent stake in the narrow-body jet program. Bombardier will retain a 31 per cent share, with the investment arm of the Quebec government holding the remaining 19 per cent. Shares are up nearly 20 per cent since the agreement was announced.
Enders’ partner in the program, Bombardier Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare, said the deal was enthusiastically embraced by the Beaudoin family, which has majority control of the Canadian manufacturer through a dual-class share structure.
“It was a real fact-based decision. We showed them the data, and how we would create tremendous value by teaming up with a partner like Airbus,” Bellemare said. “Airbus is the best commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world. That’s what we bring to Canada today.”
While Enders sees clearer skies in the months and years ahead, the massive preliminary tariffs imposed on the CSeries continue to loom over the program. The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed a 219.63 per cent countervailing duty on planes imported from Canada on September 26, followed by a further 79.82 per cent antidumping duty in early October.
In a statement following the latter duty, Boeing applauded the actions of the Department of Commerce, and once again reiterated its stance Bombardier was dumping planes into the U.S. at below-market rates.
“These duties are the consequence of a conscious decision by Bombardier to violate trade law and dump their CSeries aircraft to secure a sale,” Boeing said. “This dumping in our home market was not a situation Boeing could ignore, and we’re now simply asking for laws already on the books to be enforced.”
In spite of the Department of Commerce’s preliminary rulings, Enders isn’t buying Boeing’s argument that it was harmed.
“This Boeing position is really unfair, it’s exaggerated. I mean, we’ve see it already, the 70 per cent they were demanding was exaggerated, [and] then the government decides a 200 per cent plus tariff on that? Give me a break,” he said. “I mean it’s utterly ridiculous, and I’m confident that this will be reversed.”