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Bombardier factory tour reveals path to 30 CSeries deliveries

With about 19 CSeries aircraft deliveries to make in less than 15 weeks, a senior Bombardier executive stands by an eight-month-old target to deliver at least 30 of the small single-aisle jets to customers over the full course of 2017.

"Right now we are anticipating deliveries of 30 aircraft this year for the CSeries," says Istifan Ghanem, director of the CSeries programme.

Bombardier delivered only 11 aircraft through the first 8.5 months of the year. To meet Ghanem's target of 30 – although the company originally targeted up to 35 deliveries this year – Bombardier must average more than one aircraft delivery a week for the rest of the year.

The last CSeries delivery occurred three weeks ago, on 24 August. Bombardier may need need to deliver more than four aircraft per month from October to December, but the Canadian airframer has delivered more than two CSeries in a single month only once so far this year – and that was of only three aircraft, in May.

Behind the scenes, however, a 12 September media tour of the CSeries assembly complex in Mirabel gave a glimpse of how Bombardier could accomplish the 30-aircraft delivery goal by 31 December.

The tour revealed evidence that at least a dozen aircraft are nearing completion. Each CSeries aircraft is stamped with a manufacturing serial number. The last CS300 delivered to a customer was MSN 55012, but the next aircraft to roll out of final assembly is stamped 55026. That suggests 14 more CS300s have completed final assembly but have not yet been delivered.

Three CS300s were visible inside the completion and test hangar, one of the last of three stops for an aircraft after rolling off the assembly line. Bombardier's tour excluded the interior of other two post-final-assembly hangars – the paint booth and the flight-test preparation facility. Bombardier did not open a row of closed hangar bays adjacent to the final assembly line, where more CSeries aircraft could be stored.

It is possible that the aircraft are ready for delivery but still lack a number of key components such as Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans. Last year, Bombardier slashed deliveries of CSeries aircraft from 15 to seven, blaming the delays on P&W's slow ramp-up. The three CS300s visible in the completions hangar during the tour lacked engines.

Bombardier acknowledges that the supply chain for the CSeries is not yet "harmonious" but for now remains committed to meeting the year-end delivery goal.

"There's going to be a lot of deliveries toward the end of the year for 2017," Ghanem says. "We're working to plan. In terms of suppliers, Pratt & Whitney is aligned to that production plan."

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