Bombardier confirms Gulf Air as CSeries launch operator

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Bombardier has confirmed that the identity of the CSeries CS100 launch operator is Bahrain-based Gulf Air, removing one of the final mysteries of the type's order backlog a few weeks ahead of a scheduled first flight.

The announcement clarifies that Gulf Air was the undisclosed customer that placed an order on 20 June 2011 for 10 CS100s and options for six more aircraft.

While Lufthansa had been confirmed as the CSeries launch customer that placed the first order, Bombardier had never until now revealed the identity of the airline that would operate the first aircraft in commercial service.

The CS100 is scheduled to receive airworthiness certification by Transport Canada in mid-2014, or six months later than originally planned.

Earlier this week, Bombardier appeared to inadvertently confirm that start-up Odyssey Airlines is the other unidentified CS100 buyer in the CSeries backlog. Odyssey is reportedly planning to service New York John F. Kennedy from London City airport with an all-business class lay-out.

Gulf Air had long been the focus of speculation as a potential CSeries customer, Indeed, a Gulf Air order announcement was expected to be announced in January 2012 at the Bahrain air show, but the carrier failed to schedule a press conference.