On Thursday, Bombardier announced the dismissal of Aviation unit President David Coleal and the elimination of the position, saying that it simplifies the corporate leadership structure. While the move caught many off guard, it’s not surprising for a company dealing with a plethora of simultaneous challenges.

The announcement comes on the heels of Spirit AeroSystems’
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warning last week that it was uncertain about closing on its $500 million acquisition of Bombardier’s aerospace structures plants in Northern Ireland and Morocco. The sale of Bombardier’s rail division is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year, but not before buyer Alstom used Bombardier’s position of weakness to write itself a nearly billion dollar discount from its original offer. Fortunately, the sale of its CRJ Series aircraft program to Mitsubishi closed in June.

Through divestitures, Bombardier has now whittled itself down to a pure-play business jet manufacturer, the timing of which could not be worse. Business jet deliveries fell 26.7% in the first half this year compared to the same period in 2019, driven by Covid-19 factory and supplier disruptions. It’s anticipated that by year-end, 2020 will be below the previous year by a similar percentage due to soft jet sales.

Bombardier has historically been the most undisciplined manufacturer when it comes to heavily discounting newly built unsold airplanes known as white tails. Cash flow and holding cost avoidance trump profit margins. This now predictable reaction causes consternation for its competitors — General Dynamic’s
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Gulfstream, Dassault, Textron’s
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Cessna, and Embraer — who tend to exercise more fiscal restraint. Bombardier’s actions erodes the industry’s pricing power, which can take years to recover to previous levels.

This cycle has already begun, with its latest, top-of-the line, brand-new Global 6500 and Global 7500 business jets available for immediate delivery. The