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Bombardier sees no roadblocks ahead for CSeries

June 10, 2013, Montreal – Bombardier sees nothing major that could prevent the CSeries from making its maiden flight later this month.


June 10, 2013
By The Canadian Press

June 10, 2013, Montreal – Bombardier sees nothing major that could prevent the
CSeries from making its maiden flight later this month.

"We don't have any major risks left in the program, to be
honest,'' said Robert Dewar, CSeries vice-president and general
manager.

Dewar said a few final pre-flight tests are standing in the way
before the commercial jet makes its 90-minute inaugural flight.

The plane was handed to the flight test centre this week and is
in the middle of several days of ground vibration testing.

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It will then undergo a simulated flight and taxiing before it
gets a Transport Canada permit to fly.

The green and white plane will take off after a Global 5000 chase
plane passes along the flight route.

The business jet will then fly in parallel to the CSeries to
convey any observations to its two pilots and flight engineer.

The plane is made of composite materials and its Pratt & Whitney
engine promises to be quieter and help it to deliver fuel cost
savings for customers.

Paparazzi have staked out Mirabel airport hoping to get a glimpse
of tests, but Dewar says the first flight will take place after the
Paris Air Show, which begins June 17.

The actual date will be partially determined by favourable
weather conditions, including high cloud cover, little wind, no rain
and good visibility.

"You want to put everything on your side,'' he said, adding
that visual flight rules are needed so it doesn't rely on navigation
systems.

The CSeries performance will be tracked by onboard computers,
nearly a dozen cameras mounted inside and outside the aircraft and
curious onlookers.

Dewar said the flight will demonstrate the plane's capabilities.

Further flight tests will follow, sometimes with a break of a few
days to configure the plane to add experimental equipment specific
to that test.

As for new orders, Dewar said he's confident in Bombardier's
sales predictions but won't indicate if any will be announced at the
premier aerospace event.

"We have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline, but we really want to
make sure that we get the inherent value of the product,'' he said
from the Mirabel testing centre.

The smaller version of the plane is expected to enter into
service in about a year. Deliveries of the larger CS300 are expected
to begin by December 2014.

Bombardier expects has received commitments for 388 110- to
160-seat CSeries jets, including 177 firm orders.

Anticipation about the CSeries sent Bombardier shares to hit a
new 52-week high Friday.

The Montreal-based company's shares hit $4.93, before closing one
cent off that threshold on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets says the fate of
Bombardier's shares in the near-term is closely aligned with the
aircraft.

Shares have increased about 30 per cent over the last 12 months.

"While a post-air show first flight is unfortunate, it does put
added pressure on the Bombardier sales team as a Paris appearance is
expected to provide a nice order boost,'' he wrote in a report.

Spracklin anticipates Bombardier will likely announce two or more
purchase agreements for at least 20 aircraft at the biennial event.

Larger rivals Airbus and Boeing are expected to rack up orders
for their re-engined narrowbody planes. But he said the key for
Bombardier is to maintain its lead against the A319NEO, 737-7MAX or
Embraer E190/195 planes that have similar seat capacity to the
CSeries.

"A large order for more than 20 CSeries from a Chinese Airline,
which we believe could come from current C919 customers China
Southern or Hainan Airlines, would also act as a significant
catalyst.''

Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial said a large order is
not beyond all possibilities.

Britain's EasyJet has mused that the CSeries is being considered
as the low-cost carrier plans a large fleet replacement.

The high density CS300 could be an ideal candidate to replace 154
A319 planes with 156 seats.

Doerksen said EasyJet may not be ready to announce until later
this year.

"If Bombardier were to win a piece of this order we think it
would be very significant as it would be a large order from a
recognizable airline.''

Bombardier could use the air show to unveil the identity of a
customer that placed an order for 20 CS100 aircraft. Speculation
centres around Odyssey International, which plans to operate
business seating between London City Centre and New York.

Bombardier said Tuesday that large Russian leasing company
Ilyushin Finance co. has firmed up its conditional order for up to
42 CSeries jets. It includes a firm order for 32 CS300 aircraft and
options for 10 additional jets.

It also identified Bahrain's Gulf Air as the customer for 10
CSeries CS100 aircraft and six options.