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Bombardier affirms 2017 CSeries delivery goal despite slow start

Though Bombardier appears close to delivering the eight CSeries to Swiss International Airlines, the manufacturer has not yet delivered any aircraft this year, meaning production must accelerate in the coming months for the company to meet its delivery goal.

Despite the slow start, however, Bombardier insists it remains on track to meet its 2017 target.

"We still expect to deliver 30 to 35 aircraft in 2017," Bombardier tells FlightGlobal. "The next aircraft will be delivered shortly."

That aircraft, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer, will be a CS100 (serial number 50015) due to Swiss.

"Aircraft delivery dates don’t follow a specific pace," the company adds. "Our customers have different fleet introduction strategies, and aircraft will be delivered to our operators accordingly."

Bombardier could release more manufacturing details during its 2016 earnings call on 16 February, but the lack of hand offs so far in 2017 means Bombardier must pick up its pace.

Instead of delivering between two-and-one-half to three aircraft monthly over 12 months, Bombardier must now deliver aircraft at a rate of three to three-and-one-half CSeries monthly for the remaining 10.5 months of 2017.

The company in September 2016 announced it slashed its 2016 delivery goal to seven aircraft, down from 15, citing a slowdown in delivery by Pratt & Whitney of PW1500G geared turbofan engines.

P&W has attributed its production delays to manufacturing of the engines' titanium-aluminium fan blades, which have proved more difficult to produce than hollow titanium blades used in earlier generation turbofans.

Bombardier hit its seven aircraft 2016 target – but barely.

On 30 December it delivered the sixth aircraft, a CS100 to Swiss International Airlines, and on 31 December the seventh aircraft of the year, a CS300, departed Montreal for delivery to Air Baltic.

The seven aircraft delivered in 2016 included five CS100s to Swiss and two CS300s to Air Baltic.

The company also in 2016 built four aircraft (serial numbers 50006, 50007, 50008 and 5009), but has not delivered them.

The lack deliveries so far in 2017 is not necessarily cause for alarm, says one industry analyst.

"The lack of deliveries is concerning, but it's still early in the year, so they can recover," Richard Aboulafia, vice president at consultancy Teal Group, tells FlightGlobal.

He adds that Bombardier's health as a company remains tightly linked to P&W's deliveries of PW1500G engines.

"There's a lot of pressure to recover," Aboulafia says.

Bombardier received some positive news in recent days with the 7 February announcement that Canada's federal government will provide the company C$372.5 million ($285 million) in funding over four years.

The funds will help support CSeries and Bombardier's development of the Global 7000 business aircraft, the company said.

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