UPDATE 2-Bombardier says CSeries jet 85 pct through certification

Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:58pm EDT
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc said on Thursday that its new CSeries narrow-body, medium-range commercial jet is 85 percent through the certification process, with just over 2,400 test hours completed on the aircraft.

Bombardier aims to certify its $5.4 billion jet by the end of 2015 and deliver it in the first half of 2016 to Lufthansa-owned launch customer Swiss. The Montreal-based plane and train maker also said it remains comfortable with its order book despite not announcing new firm orders since September 2014.

"We're nearing the end and progress has been very strong," said CSeries Vice President Rob Dewar in Toronto, where Bombardier displayed one of its test planes for workers at its Downsview plant.

Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer said he was still comfortable with Bombardier achieving its goal of 300 firm orders by the aircraft's entry into service, despite struggling to find buyers for its much-delayed plane.

Bombardier now has 243 firm orders for the CSeries.

Cromer said some airline customers may be waiting to see the aircraft in service before ordering the plane.

"It's natural with the introduction of a new plane for some customers to take a bit of a wait-and-see approach," he said.   Continued...