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VIDEO: CSeries completes London City airport validation flights

Bombardier on 23 March completed CSeries validation tests at London City airport and expects to receive certification to operate commercial flights to the facility in as little as six to eight weeks.

"The aircraft flew flawlessly. There were no issues," Bombardier's vice-president of the CSeries programme Robert Dewar tells FlightGlobal.

Bombardier's second CSeries test vehicle, a CS100 variant, lands at London City airport on 22 March.

Bombardier

Aircraft operating to London City require special certification largely due to the airport's steep approach requirement.

Bombardier began London City certification tests for the CSeries months ago at other airports, performing approaches as steep as 7.5°, says Dewar. That's steeper than London City's 5.5° approach, he adds.

Following those trials, the Canadian airframer flew its second flight-test vehicle (C-GWYD), a CS100 variant, to London Stansted airport on 21 March.

The aircraft landed for the first time at London City on 22 March, completing four validation and demonstration tests that day and four on 23 March, the company says.

"The aircraft performance is either on spec, or in many cases better," says Dewar. "We will actually be able to do more than we said."

The aircraft at London City on 22 March.

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Bombardier

Next, authorities will review Bombardier's test data, Dewar says.

The company need approvals from Transport Canada, the European Aviation Safety Agency and Switzerland's Federal Office of Civil Aviation, according to Dewar. Pilots must also complete London City-specific training.

Bombardier designed the CSeries specifically for operation at London City, Dewar says. For instance, engineers tailored the aircraft's wing and flight control laws with London City's operating requirements in mind, he adds.

"The CSeries was the only aircraft that was conceived from the very beginning and designed specifically to operate from London City," he says. "Once we can do London City, we can do any other challenging airport."

In a two-class configuration, a CS100 will have a range of 2,200nm from London City, allowing flights to cities as distant as Moscow or Reykjavik, Dewar says.

In 40-passenger all-business-class configurations, CS100s can reach North America from London City, he adds. Odyssey Airlines and PrivatAir have both ordered all-business-class CS100s.

"This is the largest aircraft that can fly the most payload the longest distance out of London City airport," says Dewar.

Ten airlines currently serve London City: Aurigny Air Services, Alitalia, British Airways, CityJet, Flybe, KLM, Lufthansa, Luxair, SkyWork Airlines and Swiss, FlightGlobal schedules data show.

They fly routes from the airport to some 40 destinations in eastern and central Europe using ATR 42s and 72s, Avro RJ85s and RJ100s, Bombardier Q400s, Embraer 170s, E190s and E195s, Fairchild Dornier 328s and Saab 2000s, schedules show.

Ten carriers currently connect London City to about 35 European destinations

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FlightMaps Analytics

Despite a delivery pause in early 2017, Bombardier remains on track to meet a goal of 30 to 35 CSeries deliveries in 2017, Dewar says.

The company delivered the first aircraft of the year, a CS100 to Swiss, earlier in March, and expects to deliver another aircraft next week and third the following week, Dewar says.

He adds that Pratt & Whitney, which has suffered delays in delivery of the CSeries' PW1500G geared turbofans, remains on track to meet a revised delivery forecast.

P&W has set a goal of delivering 350-400 geared turbofans in 2017.

The engine maker's GTF production had been slowed by a shortage of parts, including hybrid metallic fan blades, but P&W has said new blade factories in Japan and Michigan will help eliminate the parts shortage.

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