While first flight of the Bombardier CSeries test aircraft remains vaguely scheduled for the "coming weeks", the airframer has announced progress in another critical area of the programme.

Construction has begun on the new CSeries final assembly plant that is sized to support production of at least 120 aircraft per year, Bombardier says.

The 667,000ft² (62,000m²) factory doubles the company's industrial complex in Mirabel, where it also builds CRJ regional jets. Including office space, the entire industrial complex in Mirabel will rise to 1.5 million square feet.

The first seven CS100 and CS300 flight test aircraft and the first production models are being assembled in a modified and re-tooled CRJ assembly building.

Bombardier plans to move to the new expanded and dedicated CSeries factory after construction is completed in mid-2014.

The new factory will house a single final assembly line for the CSeries with seven positions. The line can support a production rate of up to 12 aircraft per month at peak output. Although the firm order backlog remains at only 177 aircraft, officials have discussed the possibility of opening a second line if demand calls for raising output to up 20 per month.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news