Bombardier says CSeries taking longer than expected to prepare for first flight
A reporter enters a full-size model of the Bombardier CSeries aircraft as it is introduced in this September 2009 file photo. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:57AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:01AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Bombardier Aerospace says it's taking longer than anticipated to prepare the new CSeries commercial jet for its first test flight.
The Montreal-based company had been aiming for the first flight by the end of July but now says it will occur "in the coming weeks" without giving a target date.
Bombardier says the highly technical work is progressing smoothly but it will take more time to validate the overall systems and software integration.
The CSeries is a critical new generation of planes for Bombardier Inc., (TSX:BBD.B), which is Canada's largest aerospace company and the world's third-largest maker of passenger aircraft after Boeing and Airbus.
The first flight of the CSeries had previously expected by the end of last month but Bombardier announced June 26 it would was delayed until the end of July.
"We have now entered the ultimate phase of systems integration and validation on the first flight test vehicle as we submit brand new technology to in-depth tests," said Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
"While the process has taken more time than we had expected, we are pleased with the results and are very comfortable taking more time to ensure the required integration is finalized and the CSeries aircraft is cleared for its first flight."
It's the third delay for the much-anticipated aircraft, which is expected to compete with some of the smaller planes made by Boeing and Airbus.
In December, Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) pushed out the timing of the first flight by six months after falling behind its original plans late last year.
Bombardier has received 388 commitments for two versions of the 110- to 160-seat aircraft, including 177 firm orders.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier opened slightly below the Tuesday close but up from the June 26 closing price of $4.57. The shares were down eight cents at $4.99 in the first minutes of trading Wednesday.