Bombardier is exploring options to provide CSeries maintenance capabilities in Europe at a new commercial aircraft services centre, says Gary Martin, vice-president sales, marketing and services programmes for the airframer.

"We're in the process of looking at where we would have them," says Martin, noting that the manufacturer is still in the early stages of looking at potential locations but is aiming to decide before the end of the year. A target date for opening has not been established, but it is a "matter of urgency", says Martin.

Bombardier is considering several options for how it would operate the facility, including partnering with an airline or third-party MRO.

Martin did not mention specific potential cities, but notes that it could choose to strategically place a new commercial facility near markets accessible to markets such as Russia or Africa, where many 50-seater regional aircraft are projected to start new lives after the US airlines renew their fleets.

The Montreal-based airframer is considering options to build a new facility from the ground up as well as to move into an existing building. If it chooses the latter option, it would probably start up the facility providing maintenance for in-service CRJs and Q400s before the CSeries fleet would mature and need its first overhaul.

The CS100 is scheduled to make its first flight next week ahead of availability in 2014. Bombardier is proposing to extend intervals between checks in the CSeries maintenance programme to 850 flight hours for line maintenance checks and 8,500 flight hours for base maintenance checks. Maintenance working groups had been targeting 750 flight hours between lighter checks and 7,500h between heavy checks, and the extension would provide improved maintenance costs and less downtime for customers.

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Source: Flight Daily News