Bombardier outlines CSeries-C919 collaboration with Comac

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Bombardier remains committed to its relationship with Comac, and says the first flight of its CSeries, scheduled for the end of 2012, is still on track.

The Canadian airframer inked a collaboration agreement in March with Comac to explore commonalities of the CSeries and the C919. However, it has not resulted in any aircraft design changes yet, Andy Solem, Bombardier's vice-president of sales for China and North Asia, tells Flightglobal in an interview.

"Clearly, we are further along in our design and if there are going to be any commonalities and technology transfers, it will be from us to Comac," he says.

Bombardier is sharing its cockpit design with Comac, but the Chinese aircraft manufacturer will decide how much of it will be adapted, Solem adds. Bombardier had previously said that one aspect of the collaboration is to make the look and feel of the C919 cockpit similar to that of the CSeries, which will reduce training and maintenance costs of airlines who purchase the aircraft.

"We're saying if you want to use this design, interface, panels, we'll like to see how we can [help you do that]," Solem says. "If they don't because they have their own design in place and suppliers lined up, that's their choice. Then we'll see how we can make it more common, whether there are any advantages to common sourcing of components, best practice sharing, etc."

Bombardier and Comac will also explore common aspects in the aircraft's electronic systems, material standards development of aluminium-lithium alloy and customer services.

"This is the start of a long-term strategic relationship so there is going to be a lot of give and take. If in the first six months they learn more about our cockpit components than we get back, then so be it. The next 60 months might be a lot different," Solem adds.

Solem also expects to score sales for the CSeries in China as it is "perfect for many of the routes" the local carriers are flying.

He says: "The more real we are, the more our opportunity grows, and I say [the CSeries] is pretty real right now."

The C919's first flight is scheduled for 2014.