Bombardier’s chief executive says the plane and train maker has been “significantly improving business” in recent months – so much so that it’s even “doing better than our competitors,” Alain Bellemare said in an interview with BNN on Friday.
Bellemare specifically fired a shot at Embraer SA – whose E-Jets compete with Bombardier’s narrow body CSeries jets – its Brazilian rival which has accused Bombardier of selling its CSeries at a steep discount.
“We have a much better aircraft, let’s put it this way,” Bellemare said, in response to a question about competing against Embraer’s E-Jets. “If you look at customers’ reviews, you will see that from an operating cost standpoint, a passenger experience standpoint, and environmental performance, we have the best aircraft in its class.”
Still, Bellemare acknowledged how fierce competition has become in this segment, adding that Bombardier took “an aggressive approach” to securing orders.
“We will do what we need to do to keep winning in the marketplace,” he said.
Bellemare’s comments come after the Montreal-based company reported a US$390 million net loss and revealed that its order from Russia’s Ilyushin Finance for 32 CSeries 300 aircraft was reduced to 20.
Bombardier remains confident about its CSeries book orders, despite the setback, Bellemare said. Analysts also told BNN that Ilyushin’s revised order may also be positive for Bombardier, as it could signal to potential customers that the aerospace giant is flexible.
Bombardier said it received 127 firm orders and 80 options for the CSeries in the first half of 2016.
“We have a solid order book right now,” Bellemare said. “There will be some ins and outs, which is absolutely normal. We’ll keep working closely with customers. We have a solid backlog and the quality of that backlog has improved significantly.”
Since Bellemare took the helm at Bombardier in February 2015, the company has made a number of strategic decisions and deals. These include securing CSeries orders from Air Canada and Delta, a $1-billion investment from Quebec, and thousands of additional job cuts.
Another challenge that Bellemare faces at Bombardier includes ongoing delays for a number of Metrolinx projects in Toronto, which he vowed to fix.
Bombardier has made “significant” leadership changes in its rail division, and is working closely with the Toronto Transit Commission to “get back on track,” he said.
“We absolutely understand their frustration,” Bellemare said. “I don’t want to find excuses because it’s not useful. We will fix it.”