Bombardier 'narrowing cause' of engine hitch on new CSeries jet

Mon Jun 2, 2014 4:20pm EDT
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By Tim Hepher and Victoria Bryan

DOHA (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO: Quote) has narrowed its investigation of an engine failure on its new CSeries airliner to a few possible causes and said the test plane could be back in the air quickly if the cause turns out to be what the company suspects.

Guy Hachey, president of Bombardier Aerospace, declined on Monday to describe last week's incident in detail, but said the company hopes to understand more later this week.

"We are narrowing it down to a few possible causes and we should hopefully, as the week evolves, get to a most likely, if not a root, cause," he told Reuters in an interview in Doha.

"At that point we will be able to talk more about what is the way forward," Hachey said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) annual meeting.

News of a problem with the plane's newly developed Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engine had sparked fears of a delay in the already-overdue program, and Bombardier's stock fell for a second day on Monday.

But analysts predicted the failure, during stationary maintenance testing last Thursday, likely would have only limited long-term effects on the engine maker, plane maker or airlines who have ordered the CSeries. Stock of Pratt parent United Technologies Corp (UTX.N: Quote) rose.

The incident "raises a red flag," said Peter Arment, an analyst who follows United Technologies for Sterne Agee.

But he added: "This probably still points to more of an anomaly that has very limited impact on the overall geared turbofan program."   Continued...

A plane flies over a Bombardier plant in Montreal, January 21, 2014.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi