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Bombardier to resume CRJ1000 flight tests shortly after Christmas

Bombardier expects to resume flight testing of the CRJ1000 shortly after Christmas.

In July the regional jet programme experienced a software glitch associated with the rudder control-by-wire system.

At that time, Bombardier thought it had found the root cause and put a fix in place. Yet, one month later, the airframer experienced another glitch for which it could not determine the root cause, and the CRJ1000 flight test programme - which includes one prototype aircraft and the first production aircraft - was grounded.

After placing some of its most seasoned staffers on the project Bombardier determined the root cause of the software glitch. "We know what it is at this time. It will require further software changes," Bombardier Aerospace president and chief operating officer Guy Hachey said today during the airframer's fiscal third quarter earnings conference call.

Bombardier is currently going through some further simulations to make sure that the next fix is permanent. The CRJ1000 flight test schedule will resume after Christmas "and will have roughly 30% of flying left", says Hachey.

However, certification and first delivery of the new 100-seat regional jet will be delayed until the second half of Bombardier's 2011 fiscal year, the timeframe between August 2010 and January 2011.

Hachey says he is "very disappointed" about the stall to the programme. He says the airframer is working with its two CRJ1000 customers, which "have been very supportive", and that it has been "finding solutions for them".

The order backlog for the CRJ1000 stands at 49 units. Air Nostrum holds firm orders for a total 35 CRJ1000s, while Britair is earmarked for 14 of the type.

The financial penalties associated with the delivery delay is not greatly material but there will be an impact from a cash flow perspective, says Hachey, who notes that the company is not prevented from building aircraft in the fiscal first and second quarter in advance of first delivery.

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