In an effort to reduce current losses plaguing the A220 program, Airbus has appointed Benoit Schultz, a former Bombardier employee and a current supply chain executive with the European planemaker, to the role of running the Canadian operation. He will adopt his new role on September 1, when the current chief, Philippe Balducchi, leaves to “pursue opportunities” beyond Airbus. Balducchi was responsible for overseeing much of the takeover of the then Bombardier C-Series by Airbus with regard to the transitioning of Bombardier’s production plants into Airbus ones and opening a new U.S. assembly line.
While Airbus has been able to secure more sales for the A220 as airlines seek to reduce fuel costs and favor smaller aircraft in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the program is still losing money and Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury has been looking to achieve cuts of 20% in the cost of major components, according to REUTERS. This is needed to push the program into the black as sales alone without reduced production costs are unlikely to achieve this result and could further increase the program’s losses. While he has been successful with Raytheon Technologies and Spirit Aero Systems, Faury has failed to achieve the same with other suppliers of major components.
Airbus could further reduce costs by redesigning parts and overhauling the production system for the A220, which competes with Embraer regional jets and smaller Boeing 737s, but such spending is seen as unlikely during the pandemic.