Bombardier CEO apologetic; getting Toronto transit projects on track
Light rail prototype coming to Metrolinx in two to three weeks after missing deadline.
TORONTO — Bombardier’s CEO struck an apologetic yet optimistic note as he described the company’s efforts to get two of the city’s key transit system projects back on track after persistent delays.
The Montreal-based company said at the beginning of September it would deliver a light rail prototype in two to three weeks to Metrolinx, an agency of the Ontario government, for a new transit line in Toronto after missing a previous deadline – but has yet to do so.
“Please don’t throw any tomatoes at me,” chief executive Alain Bellemare asked attendees at an Empire Club luncheon, while acknowledging and accepting blame for the delay.
“Despite what you might read, we are 100% committed and have a good game plan to start delivering the trains on time in 2018 up to 2021.”
While Bellemare offered little detail as to how Bombardier will keep Metrolinx on schedule, he offered some specifics about its plans to address problems in delivering new streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission.
The company was supposed to have delivered 70 new streetcars to the TTC by early August, but a spokeswoman for the TTC said at the time it was hoping for 31 at the end of the year.
At the meeting, Bellemare said Bombardier has added capacity and reshuffled priorities.
“We are adding people, we are adding resources when it comes to sites and facilities and toolings… So I feel confident in our ability to get back on track,” he said.
Bellemare, who joined Bombardier early last year as its CSeries aircraft program was mired in delays and cost overruns, said the aerospace side of the company had required more of his focus.
“We were bleeding cash on the aerospace and we needed to address that very quickly,” he said.
In August, Bombardier reported a US$490 million net loss and earlier this month the company said it now expects to deliver only seven of its new CSeries jets this year, not the 15 it had expected earlier.
Bombardier said it still expects to produce 90 to 120 of the CSeries aircraft per year by 2020 but in the near term 2016 revenue will be at the low end of its forecast range, which is between US$16.5 billion and US$17.5 billion.