(Adds certification and entry into service dates)
PARIS, June 14 (Reuters) - Bombardier’s new CSeries narrow-body jet is outperforming expectations for fuel efficiency and performance, the Canadian manufacturer said on Sunday, as it tries to boost sales of the plane.
Bombardier said flight test results showed the plane was exceeding initial targets for fuel burn, payload, range and airfield performance. The jet can fly a maximum range of up to 3,300 nautical miles, 350 nautical miles further than originally anticipated.
In terms of fuel burn, it is delivering a 20 percent advantage compared with existing aircraft and offers a 10 percent benefit against new engine aircraft, Bombardier Commercial President Fred Cromer told journalists at an event ahead of the Paris Airshow, which begins on Monday.
The CSeries is Bombardier’s largest jet with up to 160 seats and represents its push to compete in the market for smaller narrow-bodies dominated by Boeing and Airbus with the 737 and the A320 respectively.
The smaller CS100 is due to be certified at the end of this year, with entry into service in 2016.
“We are very excited. We are beating the initial brochure for this aircraft,” Cromer said. “It will make ... selling the aircraft a bit easier.”
The Montreal-based planemaker has not announced a single firm CSeries order since September, and none of the tentative orders announced around last year’s Farnborough International Airshow in Britain have been converted to firm orders.
Colin Bole, senior vice president of sales and asset management, said the company expected some orders to be firmed up but declined to comment on timing.
“We will finalise transactions when they are right. We let them mature, we’re not going to be pushed into finalising deals at an air show when it’s not in the interest of our customer or shareholders,” he said.
He also said Bombardier was seeing significant interest in the jet from lessors and interest from all kinds of airlines.
“I’m very favourably impressed to see the interest coming from all the key geographical regions of the world, and all airlines types — legacy, regional, and perhaps surprisingly to some the low-cost carriers and charter carriers”, he told journalists.
Two test planes are at the Paris Airshow, including one in the colours of launch operator Swiss, marking the CSeries’ debut at an air show.
Bombardier also on Sunday released its annual market forecast, saying it expected 7,000 aircraft deliveries in the 100-150 seat segment from 2015 to 2034. (Reporting by Vicki Bryan; Additional reporting by Jessica Chen; Editing by Mark Potter)