UPDATE 1-Air Canada studying Bombardier's CSeries jet

Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:51pm EDT
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BRAMPTON, Ontario Aug 20 (Reuters) - Air Canada is studying Bombardier Inc's new CSeries jetliner carefully as it focuses on deciding by the end of the year which narrow-body jets to purchase for its fleet, the airline's chief executive said on Tuesday.

"It's a big, big decision because it's more than 100 airplanes total," CEO Calin Rovinescu told reporters at the opening of a new operations center near Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Bombardier expects the single-aisle CSeries, with up to 160 seats, to make its first test flight sometime in the next few months and to be in service about a year later.

It is the first all-new narrow-bodied jetliner in decades and will challenge top-selling Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

A big purchase by Air Canada would do much to bolster the CSeries' disappointing order book.

Montreal-based Bombardier had announced 177 firm CSeries orders by late July, well short of its target of at least 300 firm orders by the middle of next year. It failed to firm up new business at this summer's Paris Air Show even as its competitors announced big orders.