Bombardier’s product lineup formerly had three separate families of airliners (in addition to its side business with the Challenger, Learjet, and Global business-jet series):
- The DHC-8 (Dash 8, Q-Series1) line of 39-to-90-seat regional turboprops, acquired with Bombardier’s 1992 assimilation of de Havilland Canada (hence the “DHC” in the name); the DHC-8 itself had originally entered service back in 1984.
- The CRJ (Canadair Regional Jet) line of (surprise!) regional jets, which entered service later in 1992 as a stretched airliner version of the Challenger 600 business jet (which was originally produced by Canadair, and was acquired, along with its parent company, by Bombardier in 1987, thus explaining the “Canadair” in the CRJs’ long-form name); the original version was the 40-to-50-seat CRJ100/200 series, produced until 2006, but this was later superseded by the 50-to-104-seat CRJ700 series, which entered service in 2001.
- The CSeries line of 108-to-160-seat midrange jets, a homegrown Bombardier design which entered service in late 2016.
Recently, however, Bombardier has been selling off their airliner lines seemingly as quickly as they can find buyers to take them off their hands:
- In mid-2018, Bombardier sold a majority stake in the CSeries to Airbus (who renamed it the Airbus A220), and sold off its remaining stake in the project in February 20202 (although Bombardier does continue to build them at its Montréal factory, albeit merely as an Airbus contractor).
- In mid-2019, the DHC-8 was sold to Longview Aviation Capital, which resurrected the De Havilland Canada name for a company it established to build the aircraft.
- Finally, Bombardier is currently (as of mid-2020) finalising a deal to sell the CRJ series to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which would drive Bombardier out of the airliner market completely.
These sales are allegedly to improve the company’s profit margin; however, divesting oneself of one’s flagship products seems completely self-defeating (in a boiling-the-seed-potatoes kind of way) as a strategy for making more money, as it eliminates their ability to sell more of these aircraft in the future. (Moving out of the airliner business to focus solely on business jets is looking especially stupid right now, given that business aviation, unlike commercial aviation, is unlikely to recover more than partially from the current state of affairs.)
What is Bombardier trying to get at here?
1: Technically, the Q-Series moniker only refers to the later DHC-8s equipped with active-noise-suppression equipment; however, with the exception of the DHC-8-100 (which was never equipped with the system, and which left production in 2005), all DHC-8s delivered since mid-1996 are so equipped, including all DHC-8-400s.
2: Thanx to @JZYL for pointing this out.