Bombardier is gearing up to significantly expand its Mirabel plant, outside of Montreal, in preparation for assembly of its new CSeries narrowbody.
The Canadian airframer currently produces CRJ700, CRJ900 and CRJ1000 regional jets at Mirabel. "One of the first things we'll be doing in advance of building a prototype [CSeries] airplane is to perform modifications to the [existing CRJ] hangar," says Jean-Guy Blondin, Bombardier CRJ programmes director.
"Next, a hangar will be built for the CSeries aircraft contributing to the flight test programme (that particular building will eventually be converted into a delivery centre for the CSeries and CRJ). We will then add a final assembly hangar - similar in style to the existing CRJ final line - but a new separate building connected to the existing building just outside of the current structural assembly area and system installation hangar."
| Current aerial overview of Bombardier's Mirabel plant|
The next step for Bombardier will be to move its product delivery centre, which is at the end of the hangar, to a new facility. There it will join the CRJ and the CSeries in a brand new delivery centre. There will also be an additional paint facility and a little bit more administrative office space.
Bombardier also intends to build a facility for CSeries flight testing at Mirabel, in addition to the Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA) building that has already been erected to house a virtual CSeries aircraft.
The company declines to provide specific dates for its planned construction milestones, but admits the Mirabel plant is going to see "a major addition" in the next few years.
"The combined production rate of the CSeries and the CRJs will obviously demand a fair amount of investment. In all, the additional new space equates to 1,200,000 sq ft," says Blondin.
The first flight of a 110-seat CSeries CS100 is due to occur in 2012, with deliveries beginning in late 2013. The company is offering both the CS100 and a 130-seat CS300 variant, and has secured a total 90 CSeries orders to date.