Airbus to Seek Savings From C Series Suppliers, Even Bombardier

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(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE will be looking to extract cost savings from all suppliers of the C Series jetliner -- starting with Bombardier Inc., the program’s developer and current owner.

Bombardier’s Belfast factory in Northern Ireland builds wings for the single-aisle plane, a platform that Airbus will control once it concludes a partnership deal with the Canadian manufacturer. Other suppliers include United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney unit, which makes the engines.

“We think there is potential to reduce costs of the C Series,” Philippe Balducchi, an Airbus executive who will become chief of the C Series joint venture, told reporters Wednesday in Montreal. “Definitely, we will seek efforts from our suppliers on the subject of sales prices.”

Asked about Bombardier specifically, Balducchi said “clearly, they will take part in these efforts. These are discussions we’ve already had with Bombardier in the context of the partnership.”

Balducchi declined to quantify the discounts Airbus will seek from suppliers. The deal will probably close “around midyear,” he said, confirming earlier comments from Airbus that the original target for a second-half closing would be brought forward. The company agreed in October to assume control of the C Series in exchange for its sales expertise and manufacturing heft.

Airbus plans to expand its manufacturing footprint in Mobile, Alabama, to produce the C Series for U.S. customers. The facility probably won’t start delivering jets before 2020, Balducchi said. The European aerospace giant also is weighing a capacity increase in Mobile because it can’t keep up with demand for its A320 line of narrow-body planes.

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