Bombardier is gearing up to expand significantly its Mirabel plant, outside Montreal, in preparation for assembly of its new CSeries aircraft.
The Canadian airframer 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," he says. That 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."
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 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," says Blondin, adding that the new space equates to 111,500m² (1.2 million ft²).
First flight of the 110-seat CSeries CS100 is due 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 of 90 CSeries orders to date.