Bombardier is showcasing its CSeries regional jet to the Dubai Airshow this week for the first time, as the aircraft prepares for 2016 service entry.
Certification of the aircraft is targeted for the end of this year, with Bombardier saying in mid-October that the programme was more than 90% complete. Swiss is due to receive its first aircraft in the first half of next year.
The aircraft is now embarking on airline-type operations to test it in as near to operational conditions as possible. Over the next few weeks, it will be operating on a commercial airline-type schedule from key airports in North America, said Rob Dewar, vice-president, C Series Aircraft Program.
“This function and reliability testing will include airfield performance; landings and airport turnarounds; and on-ground operations – all to ready the CS100 aircraft for operation with Swiss in the first half of 2016.
“The function and reliability test flights, which will be conducted using typical airline flight routings and operational procedures, will include about 15 representative airports in Canada and 20 in the United States.”
Bombardier, which has been under increasing financial pressure as it seeks to bring the CSeries to market, won critical breathing space late last month when the Quebec regional government stepped in with a $1 billion investment to help see the programme through to full production. The investment gives the government a 49.5% stake in a new subsidiary that Bombardier will form to complete development, manufacture and support for the aircraft.
Quebec’s move aims to help safeguard the jobs of thousands of Bombardier personnel in the province.
Bombardier has 243 firm orders for the CSeries to date, including three Middle East operators.
Gulf Air has 10 CS100s on order, while new operator, SaudiGulf Airlines, has placed an order for 16 of the larger CS300 series, and Iraqi Airways wants five CS300s