TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) is targeting Monday for the first flight of its all-new CSeries jetliner, weather permitting, the planemaker said on Friday.
Rain, cloudy weather and poor wind conditions in Mirabel, Quebec, where the plane will take off, have caused delays to the final stages of pre-flight tests, heightening suspense over the maiden flight, which has already been delayed three times since late last year.
Monday's flight will be a huge milestone for the $3.4 billion, five-year program that Bombardier hopes will position it to compete against industry leaders Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus EAD.PA.
The single-aisle CSeries, the company's largest aircraft family, is Bombardier's bet on the lucrative 100- to 149-seat segment, one it eventually hopes to command with a 50 percent market share.
Airlines looking to buy new planes hope the first flights will offer proof of Bombardier's claims of high fuel efficiency, low operating costs and low noise levels for the CSeries, a medium-haul jet made of light-weight composite materials.
Competitors will eye the performance of the plane's systems and components, most notably its PurePower PW1500G turbofan engine by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (UTX.N).
The FTV1 test plane is a CS100 model, which seats 110 passengers in a typical configuration. The largest CS300 model seats 135, with capacity for up to 160.
Bombardier has been waiting for good weather conditions, a dry tarmac and low winds for the first flight of the new plane. Environment Canada's website forecast showed temperatures of 15C (59F) for Monday and a mix of sunny and cloudy weather, with a 60 percent chance of showers.
Reporting by Solarina Ho and Cameron French; Editing by Leslie Adler