Bombardier's CSeries to fly before September 17: source

Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:39pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc's (BBDb.TO: Quote) all-new CSeries aircraft is poised to take to the skies before September 17, when the company is hosting an event to celebrate the maiden voyage, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

Montreal-based Bombardier, which has already delayed the new aircraft's maiden flight three times, said on Friday it has now received a flight test permit from industry regulator Transport Canada, paving the way for the maiden flight of the aircraft - the first all-new narrow-body jet to be built in decades.

Bombardier is hoping to carve a niche for itself in the cutthroat airplane market with the fuel-efficient, medium-haul jet, but the all-new CSeries needs an avalanche of orders to be able to vie against Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) 737 Series and Airbus's EAD.PA A320 Series aircraft that dominate this segment.

The company, which said last month that it expects the first flight to occur "in the coming weeks," reiterated that message on Friday but would not provide further details.

The source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the flight is likely to occur before September 17, when the company is hosting an event in Mirabel, Quebec for its partners, and others, to celebrate the maiden voyage.

The exact date of the first flight has not yet been nailed down, as the jet still has to undergo high-speed taxi tests, landing gear tests and other checks before it takes to the air, said the source.

Bombardier said the first flight of the CSeries jet is also contingent on "optimal" weather conditions.

Shares of Bombardier were up 2.5 percent at C$4.85 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.   Continued...