LOS ANGELES The
first flight of Bombardier Inc.s new CSeries plane will
take place "in the coming weeks" amid continuing questions
about the new airliners progress, the Canadian train and
aircraft builder said.
Integration of the
auxiliary power unit and engines on the first-flight test
vehicle are "running smoothly," and the latest software
upgrades are being implemented successfully, Pierre Beaudoin,
president and chief executive officer of the Montreal-based
"However, these highly
technical steps are taking more time than initially
anticipated," he said during a quarterly earnings call, during
which he was pressed by securities analysts about the
The CSeries is seen as
a significant consumer of advanced materials. Outsiders
estimate composites comprise more than 45 percent of the plane,
aluminum-lithium alloys more than 30 percent and titanium about
7 percent, the latter representing an estimated buy weight of
around 20,000 pounds per aircraft.
spokeswoman couldnt be reached for comment.
While the flight test
program will take 12 months, Beaudoin said there is "nothing
changed" about the planes planned entry into service in
mid- to late 2014 despite investor speculation that this could
be pushed back. He agreed that while Bombardier faces a "busy"
flight test schedule, it nevertheless is "doable."
Bombardier has claimed
the CSeries will burn 15 percent less fuel and cost 20 percent
less than its competitors to operate, according to reports. It
is considered Bombardiers entry into the market for
larger commercial aircraft of up to 160 passengers, dominated
by Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Toulouse, France-based Airbus
Transportation has also won contracts for new rolling stock and
to supply spares from Britains Southern Railway that are
valued at about $274 million, the company said. The contracts,
for 116 new cars to be built at Bombardiers Derby,
England, facility, include an option for 140 additional cars,
which would bring the total number of vehicles to 256 and the
ultimate value of the order to $586 million.