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Bombardier touts CSeries, CRJ1000 progress - By Cathy Buyck | September 30, 2010

posted Oct 1, 2010, 1:07 AM by Temp User

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft President Gary Scott said the CSeries program is “going quite well,” noting that the manufacturer just “finalized the Joint Definition Phase and [is] now in the Complete Product Definition Phase.”

Scott told media at the European Regions Airline Assn.’s General Assembly in Barcelona last week that “this program is definitely real,” adding that “it is all starting to show in bricks and mortar.” Bombardier is adding a £540 million ($854 million) 600,000 sq.-ft facility to its Belfast site, where it will build the CSeries composite wings, and it is also is expanding its Mirabel site by an additional 860,000 sq. ft. In addition, its plant in St. Laurent is being enlarged.

To date, Lufthansa Group, Lease Corp. International and Republic Airways Holdings have placed firm orders for the aircraft, which is slated to enter service in 2013 (ATW Daily News, May 26). Although Bombardier did not announce additional orders at this summer's Farnborough Airshow, Scott told ATW  that the manufacturer is currently “talking to dozens of airlines from all corners of the world” and is in “advanced discussions with a handful, which we believe we’ll convert [to orders] in the not-too-distant future.” He indicated that the size of new orders under negotiation is “representative of the quantities we have had so far. Because it is a new fleet type for an airline, most orders will be for 10-plus.”

Scott also reiterated that the company expects to deliver the first CRJ1000 later this year and that the Q400X remains under consideration. “There is a lot of interest from our customers for the stretched version [of the turboprop]. There is a definite plan, but it has not yet been defined when we will launch it—maybe in the middle of the decade, or a bit further down. We will not shelve it.”

Bombardier has 49 firm orders for its CRJ1000, comprising 35 from Air Nostrum and 14 from Air France subsidiary BritAir. Air Nostrum CEO Carlos Bertomeu confirmed to ATW that he expects delivery of the first aircraft by the end of December or early January, noting that “owing to commercial reasons, with the Christmas holiday period in Spain extending until Jan. 6, we will commence commercial operations aboard the CRJ1000 somewhere in the middle of January.”