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Bombardier CEO suggests new CSeries delay possible

Bombardier’s new chief executive appeared to disclose a new delay for first delivery of the CS100 at a press conference in Montreal on 27 March, but a company spokeswoman says there has been no change.

In comments reported by the Bloomberg news service, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare says that first delivery is scheduled in 2016, while certification is scheduled for the “end” of this year.

That timeline conflicts with repeated previous Bombardier statements, including by Bellemare, that type certification and entry into service remain “on track” for the second half of 2015, a window that begins in July.

By using the term “delivery” in the press conference, Bellemare appeared to refer to a distinct milestone that often occurs quickly after type certification and weeks or months before entry into service. The delivery event is also significant for the manufacturer’s shareholders, as it represents a milestone usually tied to a customer payment.

Bombardier spokeswoman Isabelle Gauthier confirms that Bellemare made the remarks at the press conference, but maintains that the company’s internal schedule has not changed.

That means type certification and entry into service remain internally scheduled for the second half of 2015, she says. The entry into service milestone could be delayed to 2016 based on the customer’s readiness to operate the aircraft, she says, but that has not been confirmed.

Asked to clarify the internal schedule for the first delivery milestone based on Bellemare’s recent comments, Gauthier replied that Bombardier is only discussing the timeline for type certification and entry into service.

The first CS100 aircraft entered flight testing in September 2013. Four more CS100 test vehicles and the first CS300 test vehicle have since joined the certification campaign, accumulating more than 1,100h through the end of February.

The flight testing has continued after being disrupted for 100 days last year due to an engine malfunction that required a minor redesign of an oil system. Shortly after flight testing resumed last September, Bombardier activated the normal mode flight envelope protections in the fly-by-wire system for the first time.

Bombardier has confirmed orders for 243 CSeries aircraft, with about three-fourths of the sales claimed by the larger CS300 variant. Lufthansa’s Swiss International Air Lines became the launch customer for the CS100 in 2008, but Bombardier has not identified which airline will become the first operator.

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