Will the CSeries Become the A200?

Now that Airbus SE is preparing to take controlling interest in the direction and marketing of the CSeries from Bombardier, Inc. (TSX:BBD.B), the European aerospace giant is contemplating a name change.

The proposed name, as per sources, is to rename the CSeries to the A200 family; this would not be unlike the rest of the Airbus family naming convention, which numerically names the jets in order of size, ranging from the A318 to the double-decker A380 super-jumbo.

If the rumours hold true, the current CS100 is slated to become the A210, and the larger CS300 will become the A230. The new names are likely set for unveiling at the Farnborough Airshow later this summer.

Why the name change?

As revolutionary as the CSeries is, with Airbus soon to be at the helm of the program, the current name does not resonate closely enough with the rest of the Airbus catalogue. A name that more closely resembles Airbus’s current line of jets will also make cross-merchandising of other Airbus products and the ordering of components for the new A200 family that much easier for the company.

Airbus’s 50.01% control over the CSeries came because of a trade complaint by a U.S.-based manufacturer and primary Airbus competitor, Boeing Co. The U.S. Department of Commerce first sided with the U.S. company and levied 292% in tariffs on the CSeries before being overturned in the ITC.

As part of the deal with Airbus, CSeries jets slated for the U.S. market will be manufactured in the Airbus facility in Mobile, Alabama.

What’s next for Bombardier and the CSeries?

The market appears to be on hold, at least until Airbus makes a formal announcement about the CSeries. Last year, Bombardier announced an order of 31 CSeries jets with options for another 30 from an unnamed European carrier that was in progress, but not closed, possibly due to the dispute with Boeing. With that issue now resolved, the closing may have shifted to take place after the Airbus announcement.

There have been no other orders for the CSeries since then, but Airbus sales teams have both the experience and desire to start filling the order book for the revolutionary new jet.

From Bombardier’s perspective, it’s business as usual, which is a signficant improvement. The company announced the delivery of four new CSeries jets in March, which was up from same period last year but still short of the stated 40 CSeries jets it has committed to deliver for the year.

This latest delivery report comes after the company delivered one CSeries in January and none in February. If Bombardier keeps output at four jets per month or greater, that goal could be met, which would be a huge confidence booster for a company that is well known for slipping on delivery schedules.

Is Bombardier a good investment?

For the past few years, Bombardier has been operating in a prolonged crisis mode, which has kept investors at arms-length and provided ample fuel for critics. Everything from budget and time overruns to longer-than-expected certification timelines, the lack of orders, to the recent dispute with Boeing has made the company stronger and silenced critics.

With no new crisis on the horizon, Bombardier may finally be entering a period of growth as an intriguing turnaround investment.

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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.


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