News Column

Bombardier Plans More Deliveries in 2014

February 13, 2014

Molly McMillin, The Wichita Eagle

Feb. 13--Bombardier Aerospace plans to deliver 200 business jets and 80 commercial aircraft in 2014, up about 20 percent from last year's numbers.

The company delivered 238 planes last year, compared to 233 delivered in 2012.

It took net orders during 2013 for 388 airplanes, including 305 business aircraft.

That includes a firm order from the buyer of Flexjet for 85 Learjets and 30 Challengers.

Demand for smaller business jets, the Wichita-built Learjets, "is struggling," however, Pierre Beaudoin, president and CEO of Bombardier, told analysts in a conference call about Bombardier's fourth quarter and year-end financial results.

The company announced late last month that it was cutting 550 jobs in Wichita, part of a company-wide reduction of 1,700 jobs. In Wichita, about 200 of the 550 workers to be laid off departed in December.

Bombardier recorded $18.2 billion in revenue and $572 million in net income last year, up 5 percent in both cases, the company said Thursday.

For the fourth quarter, revenue totaled $5.3 billion, compared to $4.6 billion for the same time a year ago.

"2013 was a good year for Bombardier with major milestones reached in our product development," Beaudoin said in a statement.

The CSeries had its first flight in September and is well into its extensive flight test program. And the Learjet 70 and 75 entered service, Beaudoin said.

The Learjet 85 program is "making solid progress and is preparing for its first flight in the coming weeks," the company said.

The first flight of the Learjet 85 had been expected before the end of 2013.

"The first flight is very close," Beaudoin told analysts.

The delay primarily is because of systems integration and making sure all the systems in the aircraft are responding the way they should, he said.

"There's been some adjustments here and there," Beaudoin said, adjustments that had to be done before the airplane is presented to the Federal Aviation Administration for flight approval.

"We're very close to presenting the airplane," he said.

After the all-composite plane has flown for a period of time, Bombardier will come out with a schedule for the Learjet 85 and its expected entry into service, Beaudoin said.

The company had challenges to get all the composite components of the Learjet 85 finished and "produceable," Beaudoin said.

Bombardier has made significant progress on the composites, he said. "We understand what needs to be done for production," he said.

"We feel confident about our ability to manufacture this airplane," Beaudoin said.

Bombardier's aerospace and transportation sectors had a strong year of orders, the company said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.


(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

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Original headline: Bombardier forecasts more plane deliveries in 2014

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Source: (c)2014 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

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