Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) is confident it will meet a “challenging” goal of delivering the CSeries jet one year after its maiden takeoff this month, even though the timeline is half that of recent programs by competitors.
The Montreal-based company is working toward the first flight of the narrow-body CSeries by June 30 and the program is still on track to meet that goal, said Rob Dewar, vice president and general manager of the CSeries, in a phone interview today.
New plane programs such as Boeing Co. (BA:US)’s 787 Dreamliner and Embraer SA (EMBR3)’s E-190 have taken an average of two years from first flight to entering commercial service, Ronald Epstein, an analyst at Bank of America Corp. in New York, said in a May 15 note to clients. That suggests a CSeries delivery may not take place before 2015’s second half, he wrote.
Bombardier’s “extensive” ground tests on the CSeries -- which included the construction of an integrated testing facility at its Mirabel, Quebec, plant -- should allow it to start deliveries as scheduled in about one year, Dewar said. Ground tests on the plane began more than one year ago, he said.
Entry into service of the CSeries in mid-2014 “is a challenging target, that’s clear, but we’ve done things differently,” Dewar said. “One, we did much more upfront testing than others have, or ourselves. Two, we are providing a very mature aircraft into the flight test program.”
Bombardier sparked concern among investors in November by announcing a six-month delay in the CSeries. Dewar, who said he’s been working seven days a week for about two months, said the plane will take to the skies on time.
“We are tracking day on day for the end of the month,” he said. “That’s our objective. We feel we have done really good in our schedule compared to others, so we are very satisfied with that schedule.”
Bombardier’s flight-test group took control of the plane earlier this week, and ground vibration tests will now be carried out before low-speed taxiing begins, Dewar said.
“The aircraft looks phenomenal,” he said. “It’s been a long journey, but I’m really excited to see this program come together.”
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