Bombardier to 'soon' certify larger CSeries jet after first delivery

Wed Jun 29, 2016 7:05pm EDT
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL, June 29 (Reuters) - Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc will soon get the certification of the larger of its CSeries jet family, a senior executive said on Wednesday, after delivering its first 110-seater CS100 plane, the smaller model, to customer Swiss International Airlines.

The CS100 was awarded certification by Transport Canada in December last year. Bombardier has said it expected to get the larger, 130-seat CS300 certified during the second quarter of this year. Airlines cannot fly planes commercially until certification is granted.

"The next big challenge is to get the CS300 certified, which will happen soon," said Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer on Wednesday, following a flight with reporters aboard the smaller CS100.

Swiss International Chief Technical Officer Peter Wojahn said the carrier is well prepared to integrate the nine CSeries aircraft it is taking this year.

He said he had some initial concerns triggered by media reports over Bombardier's liquidity challenges last year and the narrowbody plane program's struggles with delays and cost-overruns.

"We had some concerns, quite honestly, you know when there was this negative media (reports) in the last 12 months," Wojahn told reporters on the tarmac at Bombardier's Mirabel factory in Quebec.

Swiss International has ordered 30 CSeries jets and is not currently planning to order additional planes, Wojahn said. Germany's Lufthansa has options for another 30 planes.

The delivery is a milestone in Bombardier's efforts to break into the fleets of top airlines, and challenge larger rivals Boeing Co and Airbus Group SE in the niche market for 100-seat planes.

"It's a historic day," said Rob Dewar, the CSeries vice president and general manager at Bombardier Aerospace. (Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Bill Rigby)