| TORONTO, Sept 4
TORONTO, Sept 4 Bombardier Inc's
troubled CSeries is on the brink of resuming test flights in
coming days, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
"It is very close. There should be some good news on the
test program within the next week," the source said.
The exact day is unclear, since it will depend on standard
operating issues such as weather, according to the source.
Bombardier's ambitious, multi-billion dollar CSeries program
stalled during the summer when the test planes were grounded
following an engine failure in late May.
Bombardier has said since June that flying would resume "in
the coming weeks", and a spokesman could not narrow that time
frame further on Thursday.
Speculation has increased among experts and industry
watchers that the aircraft, which is about 18 to 24 months
behind schedule, will be back in the air sometime this month.
The CSeries plane, which Bombardier claims has superior
operating and fuel efficiencies, competes against the smaller
jets made by aerospace giants Boeing Co and Airbus Group
Airbus' single-aisle A320neo, redesigned to be more
efficient than its current generation, is now being readied for
its first test flight, expected in the second half of September.
Bombardier believes the 100- to 149-seat segment will be
lucrative and it has high hopes the CSeries will corner a
significant chunk of that market.
But firm orders have been slow to materialize for the
Montreal-based plane and train maker as many carriers wait for
more test flight hours, and entry into commercial service.
The multiple delays and engine issues prompted Swedish
carrier Braathens Aviation to back out of its slot as the first
operator of the new jetliner last week, though the company said
it remained fully committed to the CSeries.
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris; Editing by
Jeffrey Hodgson and Ken Wills)