Customers will be watching closely to see if data from years of computerized simulations and hundreds of hours of flights validate the promised savings on fuel and the reduction in noise and engine emissions needed to prompt orders.
The head of the
"It's very challenging to bring an aircraft to market but there's no big surprise that we've seen so far in the CSeries," he said.
The newly designed aircraft, built partially with lightweight composite materials and powered by
"This is an aircraft that is designed first and foremost for worldwide demand and not just for current fortress markets," Hachey told a recent aviation conference.
September's first CS100 flight was supposed to propel new orders, but only
A series of potential buyers are circling. Among them is
Delivering the 110- to 160-seat CSeries on schedule will be the main challenge. The flight test program for the CS100 is supposed to last 12 months, but most industry observers believe Bombardier will miss that date, just as it missed the maiden flight target by about nine months.
They believe the first delivery of the smaller of the two CSeries commercial jets will be made in the first quarter of 2015, about six months behind schedule. That would still be an achievement compared to protracted delays by
Hachey said it is waiting for data from its second test airplane before determining if the date will be pushed back.
"It will all depend what we discover here as we have more than one aircraft in the air, but right now it's going according to what we would have expected," he said.
Tyerman said there's little doubt that the CSeries CS100 will be late.
Early spring could be a crucial period, when the company accumulates sufficient data to validate the plane's promise of burning 20 per cent less fuel and reducing operating costs.
"At that point, presumably, they should know how the program's going," he said in an interview. "If they're materially behind and don't know that information, then that's going to be an issue."
He said the first flight and test flight data will help to calm some marketplace anxieties.
"I think it's superior to its competitors...and it's something where, in the medium to long term, it's going to be a very considerable success," he said.
He believes Bombardier will achieve its targeted 300 sales by first delivery, but said it would be a bonus to have some big name customers, including
"It's an impressive airline and, if you don't win the people literally right across the street, that may be seen negatively by some as well."
He said losing the contract wouldn't be a big blow to Bombardier, but the manufacturer needs to attract a network carrier other than
Aboulafia said Bombardier has not been aggressive enough to secure orders in the face of intense pressure from its larger rivals. He said Bombardier has "superior product syndrome," a dangerous affliction in which a company convinces itself that customers will be lured by the attributes of the product.
"I think it's in jeopardy of being marginalized and staying marginalized," the U.S. analyst said from
Bombardier said it has avoided selling too many planes at launch discounts to prevent being saddled with years of making planes at low margins.
Aboulafia says the company could be proven right or it could have "grossly underestimated what they need to break into this market."
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