Software glitch puts CRJ1000 programme slightly behind schedule

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Bombardier has disclosed that its flight test programme for the CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft is slightly behind schedule, and that initial aircraft deliveries will likely be delayed.

Guy Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, during an earnings conference call today said the CRJ1000 progrmme experienced a software glitch in July.

The Canadian airframer "determined the root cause" of the glitch and has since rectified the problem. However, this glitch has set the programme "back a little bit", says Hachey.

Bombardier now believes it will be able to deliver the CRJ1000 in its fiscal first quarter, which ends on 30 April 2010. The airframer previously intended to deliver the first CRJ1000 in January.

As of 31 July of this year, the prototype CRJ1000 aircraft had completed approximately 70% of the estimated total flight test hours required for the programme. "The prototype aircraft has met or exceeded predicted performance levels. The aircraft weight is consistent with our expectations," says Bombardier, noting that the first production aircraft "completed its first flight in July 2009".

Bombardier's CRJ1000 backlog took a hit last month with the airframer's termination of Italian low-fares carrier MyAir's 15-strong order for the type. MyAir's operations were formally suspended in July by civil aviation authority ENAC.

Following this termination, the firm order backlog for the CRJ1000 stands at 49 units. Of this amount, Air Nostrum holds firm orders for a total 35 CRJ1000s worth approximately $1.75 billion.

Hachey says Bombardier is seeing continued interest in the 100-seat regional jet from the European market and has "some active campaigns going on".