Questions over whether Bombardier will enter the mainline airliner segment with the 110- to 130-seat CSeries remain unanswered, with the manufacturer saying it continues to refine the aircraft's business plan, writes Mary Kirby.

Bombardier Aerospace president and chief operating officer Pierre Beaudoin said during an earnings briefing last week that the Canadian airframer will be "escalating" its discussions with suppliers and talking to customers "about the pricing level of this airplane" for a potential entry into service of 2013.

A team of 50 developers have been honing the design, and while Bombardier will be conducting a lot of research and development over the next year, the company does "not need to make a [launch] decision until calendar 2008" to reach its 2013 entry target, says Beaudoin.

The programme has a "spend rate of about $1 million per month", says Beaudoin, adding that the manufacturer will maintain "a similar level [of funding] this year" for the CSeries. To date, Bombardier has spent over $100 million on the project. Developing the aircraft is expected to cost a total $2 billion.

As previously disclosed, an all-composite wing is planned for the CSeries. Bombardier is also "assessing right now the cost benefit of building the fuselage in aluminium versus composites", says Beaudoin.

Meanwhile, the company has reported that its full fiscal year earnings before financing income, financing expense and income taxes (EBIT) grew by $56 million to $322 million, resulting in an EBIT margin of 3.9%, up from 3.3% last fiscal year. Companywide, Bombardier reported a fiscal 2007 net profit of $268 million compared to the $249 million recorded in FY2006.

Source: Flight International