29 JULY 2013
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Bombardier has delayed the first flight of its CSeries regional jet for a third time, promising the inaugural "in the coming weeks" instead of July, a move most customer airlines, and pundits, were in truth expecting. Airbus and Boeing have learnt over the last few years that it is dangerous to publish first flights too much in advance. Better to leave an announcement until the pilots are virtually in the cockpit.
The delay casts new doubt on Bombardier's ambitious mid-2014 entry-into-service target for the CSeries. The first flight will be the culmination of a five-year, US$3.4bn development programme for the CSeries.
Bombardier hopes eventually to corner 50% of the lucrative 100- to 149-seat market which is not strongly covered by Embraer, with its smaller E series, nor Airbus/Boeing, who have not had little call for their offerings in the under 150-seat class. The Montreal-based company has announced 177 firm CSeries orders, far less than Toulouse and Seattle, both of whom are developing existing aeroplanes. In order to gain a 15/20% advantage over existing jets Bombardier has taken the much more ambitious step of building an all new aircraft. www.bombardier.com
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