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Fri, Nov 09, 2012

Delays In CSeries First Flight May Drag Down Orders

Bombardier Says First Plane Will Fly By The End Of June 2013

Bombardier had hoped that its new CSeries single-aisle airliner would fly before the end of 2012, but unspecified delays in the program have company officials now saying that the airplane likely won't leave the ground for the first time before June of next year ... and that could have airlines looking at existing competing products from Boeing and Airbus as they renew their fleets.

The news came as part of the company's report of third quarter results posted Wednesday. "The CSeries aircraft development program is making solid progress. The build for both the Complete Airframe Static Test (CAST) and the first flight test aircraft is progressing well," the report said. "Results from the on-the-ground integrated systems test and certification rig (CIASTA/Aircraft 0) are as expected. A number of key milestones have already been met, but at this point in the program the Aerospace group has encountered certain issues, mainly related to some suppliers. Therefore, first flight will now take place by the end of June 2013 and it is expected that entry-into-service (EIS) of the CS100 aircraft will occur approximately one year after first flight.

The timeline for the CS300 aircraft, which represents a significant portion of the program’s orders and commitments, remains unchanged with EIS scheduled for the end of 2014.

Cameron Doerksen, an analyst for National Bank Financial in Montreal, told Bloomberg News that the delay could spell a reluctance on the part of airlines to order CSeries airplanes until a more solid timeline is announced. "Bombardier's credibility will take a hit," he said, adding that investors will also remain "skeptical of the schedule until the plane actually flies."

Bombardier says it has 139 firm orders and 214 commitments for the CSeries airplane. CEO Pierre Beaudoin would not say whether the company was on track to have 300 firm orders on the books by the end of 2013.

(Pictured: Artist's rendering of CSeries aircraft)

FMI: www.bombardier.com

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