(Adds quotes from CEO, analyst)
By Allison Lampert
MONTREAL, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s Bombardier Inc won certification on Friday for its 110-seater CSeries plane, a milestone that could boost airlines’ confidence in the new jetliner and helped lift the Montreal company’s stock more than 17 percent.
The high-stakes CSeries, which has run millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule, has gone more than one year without a new order.
At a Montreal-area event, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said that Transport Canada, the program’s main regulator, has certified the smaller of two CSeries planes, the CS100. It marks the largest passenger aircraft ever certified by Transport Canada, he said.
“This is a turning point for the program,” said Bombardier Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare.
Separately, the plane and train maker’s executive chairman is seen stepping down in 2016, Reuters reported on Friday. .
The certification came after the promise of a $1 billion dollar cash infusion in October from the Quebec government for a nearly 50 percent stake in the CSeries. The federal government is still considering whether to invest in the program, Garneau told reporters.
Bombardier still faces the challenges of ramping up production, dealing with any cost overruns or snags on entry to service, and securing new orders to try to recover lost momentum.
“Certification is a key milestone, but orders are more important,” Macquarie analyst Konark Gupta wrote in a note to clients.
Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Authority is expected to follow in 2016 and the plane’s entry into service is seen in the first half of 2016.
The larger CS300 plane is expected to be certified within six months.
Certification and entry-into-service will provide added assurance to airline customers worried about integrating new planes into their fleets, said Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer.
Cromer said Bombardier was explaining to airlines the plane’s new technology and what support it will provide once the CSeries is in service. (Reporting by Allison Lampert; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Von Ahn)