April 9, 2014 / 7:08 PM / 3 years ago

Bombardier's delayed Learjet 85 flies for first time

Workers install the tail section on a full-scale cabin mockup of the all-composite Bombardier Aerospace Learjet 85 business jet , four days before the opening of the 48th Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 11, 2009.Pascal Rossignol

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc's (BBDb.TO) new business jet took off from Wichita, Kansas, for the first time on Wednesday morning, the plane and train manufacturer said, following setbacks that pushed the aircraft program behind roughly half a year.

The Montreal-based company was set to fly the Learjet 85 for the first time on March 20, but poor weather kept the jet grounded. A week later, the company said the inaugural flight would be delayed after it discovered a systems problem that required a software update.

The business plane, Bombardier's largest Learjet, was originally set to enter service in late 2013, but early last year, Bombardier postponed it to the summer of 2014.

Bombardier's aircraft development program has suffered a number of hurdles, most notably with its brand-new CSeries commercial jetliner.

The cost of that plane, meant to fill a potentially lucrative gap and compete with the smaller jets made by industry giants Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus Group (AIR.PA), has ballooned to some $4.4 billion.

It was originally expected to be in service around the end of 2013 but will now take its first commercial passenger sometime in the second half of 2015.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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