(Adds detail on possible decisions, comments on government investment and debt maturities)
By Allison Martell
TORONTO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc is starting to look at its options for a new aerospace program now that its CSeries commercial plane is complete, but no decisions have been made, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Chief Executive Alain Bellemare said he did not know yet whether Bombardier would invest in commercial or business aircraft, but the company is looking at where there are gaps in the market and what competitors are doing.
“We are going to look at all of our options,” said Bellemare, speaking to reporters in Toronto. “We have started the work and the advance analysis.”
When Bellemare joined Bombardier in 2015 the Canadian plane and train manufacturer was struggling to complete several development programs, including the CSeries, then running years late and billions over budget.
But the company delivered its first CSeries jet in June, and its new Global 7000 business jet is scheduled to enter service in 2018. Bellemare said he would like to see the company investing about $1 billion a year in engineering and design, down from closer to $2 billion in the past few years.
“To make sure that we don’t lose momentum, and we don’t lose the talent and the knowledge that we have built over the past five to ten years, you need to launch this next platform in time,” he said.
He did not say when he expects to make a decision or launch that new program.
Asked about the company’s request for aid from Canada’s federal government, Bellemare said he hopes to reach an agreement soon: “It has been a complicated negotiation, and we are still engaged,” he said.
Bellemare said it is not critical that Bombardier make a decision on how to handle its 2018 debt maturities right now.
“If we see opportunities we will capture the moment,” he said. “We’re keeping all options open. Fundamentally, the most important thing is to make sure that we put the business back on a track of strong operating performance.” (Editing by Bernard Orr)