Air Capital Insider

Bombardier hires new salesman for commercial aircraft business

A Bombardier CSeries CS100 sits on the ramp near Bombardier Learjet in Wichita in February.
A Bombardier CSeries CS100 sits on the ramp near Bombardier Learjet in Wichita in February. The Wichita Eagle

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has hired its second executive in as many weeks with ties to a global, commercial aircraft leasing giant.

The Montreal-based company and parent of Wichita’s Learjet said Monday Colin Bole was hired as senior vice president of sales and asset management for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

Bole was most recently chief commercial officer at leasing company Intrepid Aviation, and his resume includes stints at Airbus and the former International Lease Finance Corp., where he worked for four years as a senior vice president and headed ILFC’s Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions.

“His vast experience at the most senior levels within both leasing companies and a major aircraft manufacturer, has enabled him to master airline strategy, aircraft negotiations and transactions, and the complex dynamics of relationship management,” said Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, in a news release. “His insights on how customers make critical decisions about their aircraft portfolios are exactly what we need to develop the right sales and marketing campaigns to win in all our market segments.”

Cromer was president of ILFC before joining Bombardier as leader of its commercial jet business. The hiring of Cromer, who also logged time as an executive with ExpressJet, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines, was announced April 9.

ILFC merged with AerCap last May. AerCap has 1,300 commercial aircraft in its leasing portfolio.

Bombardier, the Canadian train and airplane maker, has struggled with its CSeries commercial jetliner program, a composite, narrowbody airliner larger than regional jets and intended to compete head-on with Boeing’s popular 737 and Airbus’ A320 family.

The CSeries comprises the CS300 and the smaller CS100, which is under flight test at Bombardier’s facilities in Wichita.

The C Series program was announced eight years ago and has been hit by a series of delays — including an engine explosion during a ground test last May outside of Montreal. The composite jetliner’s development costs also have risen to $5.4 billion, Bombardier officials said earlier this year.

Its likely that the hiring of Cromer — and now, Bole — is aimed at pumping renewed appeal into the CSeries, which was first expected to enter service in 2013. Bombardier currently expects deliveries to begin in the second half of 2015.

Cromer and Bole’s credentials in the end-user space of the commercial aircraft world suggest an urgency by Bombardier to book more orders and convert existing commitments to firm orders.

Time will tell if those moves inside Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s executive suite pay off.