MONTREAL – Bombardier Aerospace has found a new launch customer for its CSeries commercial jet, about four months after Swedish company Braathens Aviation withdrew over uncertainty surrounding the program.
The Montreal-based aerospace company (TSX:BBD.B) declined to identify the new launch customer.
“It (the client) doesn’t want to be identified,” said Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera. “We leave it up to the discretion of our customer to tell us when they are ready to be disclosed.”
The CS100 is expected to enter into service in the second half of 2015, followed about six months later by the larger CS300.
Braathens Aviation said in August that it would no longer be the first customer as the CSeries was grounded following a May 29 engine failure during ground maintenance testing. In 2011, the company had ordered five CS100s and five CS300s valued at US$665 million, plus options on 10 other planes.
Being the launch customer has some risk but the ramp-up of flight testing has reduced any doubts, de la Barrera said.
Analyst Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets estimates that the CSeries had recorded 646 hours of flight tests as of Dec. 8.
He expects Bombardier will reach the 2,400 hours of testing required to obtain certification from Transport Canada by next October.