Integration of the former Bombardier CSeries program into Airbus is progressing well, the head of Airbus in Canada said.

“We will deliver more aircraft in the second half of the year than we did in the first half as we continue to ramp up,” said Philippe Balducci, CEO of the Airbus-led partnership that now builds the narrowbody airliner as the A220.

“Our first focus was to preserve the operations to ensure continuity and make sure customers were not impacted. That has been successful,” he told the Aero Montreal conference in Montreal on April 16. Airbus took control of the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) from Bombardier on July 1, 2018.

The next step was to begin the integration work to bring the A220 program into the Airbus family. All commercial activity, including marketing and sales, is now within Airbus and the transfer of procurement contracts from Bombardier is almost complete, Balducci said.

Discussions with suppliers to achieve the double-digit cost reductions Airbus is demanding to reduce the price of the A220 are progressing, he said, adding that work is also underway with the supply chain to improve quality.

Revealing the A220 has suffered quality issues “across the broad,” Bombardier CEO Alaine Bellemare said, “Airbus is already bringing its supply-chain leverage” to the program. The price for the A220 is set by the market, he said, and Airbus’ supplier leverage “is already helping.”

“We are now looking at support and service,” the final phase of integration, Balducci said. Bellemare said the program is already using Airbus’ worldwide support network to service some A220 customers, including Korean Air.

After announcing two major orders, from JetBlue Airways and US startup LCC Moxy, immediately after Airbus took control of the CSeries program, sales have been slow. “Sales take time,” Balducci said. “The aircraft is excellent, and we have a lot of [sales] campaigns.”

Construction is under way on a second A220 final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, from which aircraft will be delivered to US customers.

“They are receiving parts for the first aircraft,” Balducci said, adding delivery is on track for mid-2020.

Despite setting up a second final assembly line, Airbus plans to maintain the supply chain as it is today rather than look for local suppliers in the US.

“The first challenge at Mobile is to build up the facility. Training people will be the focus for the next couple of years,” he said.

Airbus owns 50.01% of CSALP, which is being renamed Airbus Canada Limited Partnership, with Bombardier retaining 34% and Investment Quebec 16%.

“The Airbus team has really embraced the platform,” Bellemare said. “Airbus head of sales [Christian Scherer] is fully engaged.”

Noting that the Bombardier CEO “is still very involved in the program,” Balducci said, “There is a strong focus within Airbus senior management on this. Sales just take time, we have to be patient.”

Graham Warwick,