Airbus and Bombardier tout long lead times on new programmes

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Airbus and Bombardier are each optimistic that their decision to create more lengthy development programmes for new aircraft, the A350 and CSeries, respectively, will help them avoid overly ambitious schedules that can lead to delays.

Airbus is confident it has fashioned a "realistic development programme" for its A350 to enter service as planned, in 2013, said Airbus head of leasing and investor marketing Mark Pearman-Wright yesterday at the ISTAT conference in Phoenix.

The airframer's six-year development programme for the A350 includes a 15-month flight test schedule.

When Boeing launched the 787 programme, Airbus wanted to respond "fast and vigorously". But despite this, says Pearman-Wright, the firm determined that a 2013 EIS was realistic and gave it "enough margin" to stay on schedule.

Bombardier is also targeting a 2013 EIS for its CSeries narrowbody. Commercial aircraft president Gary Scott notes that the manufacturer has chosen a five-year development programme that includes one year of flight testing. "We're not trying to set any records," he says.