Air Transport World

Booming with Bombardier

The No. 3 maker of civil aircraft turns toward its future business and commercial products

WICHITA-The 2-day press seminar was filled with in-depth briefings by key executives. Graphics and statistics on current and future aircraft programs filled a briefing book the size of the King James Bible.

But the aerial procession of nine company aircraft was what emphasized the prominent role of Bombardier Aerospace in business and regional aircraft manufacturing. The division earned C$462 million last year.

There was the 70-78-seat Dash 8-400, which will be certified by Transport Canada, FAA and JAA in March, with deliveries to follow during the 1999 second quarter. Bombardier officials remain confident about the market potential of the $17.8 million "Q" version, despite the fact that none of the 32 firm orders and 53 options comes from North America.

"I expect that the Dash 8400 will be very strong in North America and you will see orders pretty soon," said Steven A. Ridolfi, VP-marketing and aircraft programs. "Why? Because of the aircraft's economics and Q [computer-driven noise and vibration suppression system] technology."

A few analysts share Ridolfi's enthusiasm. "We expect sustained economic growth in the next few years for Bombardier Aerospace, and the Dash 8-400 and the CRJ-700 regional jet are part of the reason," said John Reider of Dominion Securities, formerly Richardson Greenshields. …

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