TORONTO, July 9 (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc said on Wednesday it is testing a fix for its all-new CSeries engine with Pratt & Whitney and still expects to resume flight testing in the coming weeks after a major engine failure in late May grounded the jetliner.
Bombardier restarted ground tests on the $4.4 billion aircraft on June 10 after engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp, said it likely understood the root cause of the problem and that it did not lie with its signature gearing system.
“We shipped the engines to Pratt for a root cause analysis and we found the root cause and we found a solution,” said Bombardier spokesman Marc Duchesne. “We’re now testing that solution before we can fly again.”
Multiple CSeries delays have disappointed investors and added to competition concerns as the plane takes on smaller jetliners made by industry leaders Boeing Co and Airbus Group.
A spokeswoman for Pratt said the company was “working closely with Bombardier to assure a return to flight as soon as possible.”
Despite the delay in flight testing, Montreal-based Bombardier has said it still expects the narrow-body plane will enter service in the second half of 2015.
Bombardier will be under pressure to demonstrate continued momentum for the jet with fresh orders at next week’s closely watched Farnborough International Airshow in England. There is some speculation that Bombardier could announce orders, but the company declined to comment.
Duchesne said separately that Bombardier signed a letter of intent with Air Kazakhstan for 10 Q400 turboprops earlier this week and would firm that deal in coming weeks. At list prices, the contract is worth $300 million, but the new airline’s president was quoted in a Kazakhstan newspaper as saying the deal was valued at $230 million.
Bombardier hopes to dominate the 110- to 149-seat plane market with the CSeries, built with lightweight composite materials and other technologies designed to reduce fuel burn, noise and operating costs. (With additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by Bernadette Baum)