June 3, 2015 / 5:39 PM / in 5 years

Bombardier to tout CSeries jet performance at Paris Airshow

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc will reveal new information about the performance of its CSeries passenger jet at the Paris Airshow based on its test program, Commercial Aircraft President Fred Cromer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Bombardier's CS300 Aircraft, showing its' Pratt & Whitney engine in the foreground, sits in the hangar prior to its' test flight in Mirabel February 27, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

The Canadian manufacturer has touted better fuel economy and lower operating costs as advantages of the CSeries, which is nearing certification after years of delays and cost overruns.

Bombardier has promised that the CSeries will burn 20 percent less fuel than similar planes in production. In a recent online video, a Bombardier executive said one test plane had finished a 7.5-hour flight with two hours of fuel left over, raising hopes that the jet might exceed that target.

“I can tell you we’re pretty excited about what we’re seeing in the test program, and we will be introducing an update to the brochure,” Cromer said. He declined to give specifics.

CSeries test planes are making their air show debut in Paris, with one jet on the ground and another in the aerial display. Plane makers often look to close sales at the show, but Cromer played down the possibility of announcing significant new deals.

“For us, myself being relatively new and our new senior vice president of sales, Colin Bole, being even newer than me, I think it’s going to take a little time for us to get our strategy in place,” he said.

Cromer joined the company in April from International Lease Finance Corp, where he worked on the other side of the table, buying planes. Bombardier’s new chief executive officer, Alain Bellemare, took over in February.

Bombardier, which has 243 firm orders for the CSeries, is aiming for 300 before the plane goes into service. But many orders are small or conditional, and the company has not announced a new agreement for more than eight months.

Meanwhile, the competing Airbus A320neo has gathered 3,621 firm orders as of April, while rival Boeing Co has 2,724 orders for its 737 MAX.

Cromer said Bombardier was looking for “positive attention” at the show. With more than 1,600 flight test hours completed, potential customers have more reason to be confident the plane will perform as well as the company has promised.

“No more speculation, no more question in terms of, will the aircraft make it to certification? And what is it going to look like?” he said. “We’re in the home stretch.”

Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Lisa Von Ahn

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