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Airbus Boss Nails Bombardier Timing

The deal will lift both companies – and poses trouble for Boeing
A Bombardier C Series jet.

A Bombardier C Series jet.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen

Just as he was being lampooned in Bild Zeitung’s dreaded “Loser-of-the-Day” column, Tom Enders proved his impeccable timing: Within hours, the Airbus chief had blindsided rival Boeing Co., expanded a strong U.S. beachhead, and won control of the most advanced single-aisle jet on the market—all without spending a penny.

In the dead of the European night, Enders announced that Airbus would take control of Bombardier Inc.’s C Series aircraft, a program that’s as financially troubled as it is technologically advanced. In a deal similar to one he entertained two years ago, but vetoed because the plane wasn’t yet ready for production, Airbus will pay no money, but will take 50.01 percent ownership in the program in exchange for helping Bombardier market the struggling jet.