Sunday, November 08, 2015

Bombardier says almost done with flight test for regional jet

Canadian plane maker Bombardier said on Sunday it has nearly completed flight testing of its new CS100 regional jet, which makes its debut at the Dubai Airshow this week ahead of its planned entry into service next year.

Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, told reporters the company’s C Series program was doing well, and was seeing demand from customers in the Gulf region. Certification of the new CS100, whose FTK-5 test model flew to Dubai last week, is due by the end of the year.

Completion of the flight test program and the plane’s certification are essential for Bombardier to drum up additional orders for the new jet. The company has said it expects to have sold 300 jets before the plane enters into service in the first half of 2016.

Quebec-based Bombardier’s C Series jet project has left it saddled with debt, prompting the provincial government to announce a $1-billion investment on Oct. 29 to keep the program afloat.

Mr. Cromer declined to name any potential Gulf customers for the new aircraft, but said its strong performance at high altitudes and in hot temperatures, as well as its wide seats, made it attractive to customers in the region.

Executives added that Latvia-based Air Baltic would be the launch operator of its CS300 aircraft when it takes delivery in the second half of 2016. The Latvian flag carrier has 13 CS300 aircraft on firm order and options.

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