* Bombardier shares fall as much as 4.5 percent
* Second delay for CSeries
* Says has applied to Transport Canada for flight test
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, June 26 Bombardier Inc on
Wednesday delayed the maiden flight of its all-new CSeries
jetliner for a second time, the latest setback in the Canadian
planemaker's $3.4 billion bid to compete with bigger rivals.
Bombardier fell as much as 4.5 percent on the Toronto Stock
Exchange after the company said it was pushing back its
inaugural flight by up to a month.
"It certainly doesn't help alleviate any of the skepticism
around management's assertion about program timing," said PI
Financial Corp analyst Chris Murray, calling the situation a bit
of a disappointment.
Bombardier said the new schedule will give it time for
additional software upgrades, with an inaugural flight now
scheduled before the end of July. Its previous delay, late last
year, was due to an unspecified supplier problem.
The CSeries, which can accommodate between 110 and 130
seats, is the first all-new, narrow-body plane in decades and is
Bombardier's bet on the lucrative 100- to 149-seat segment. A
reconfigured version of the plane can seat up to 160.
The delay comes only days after the Paris Air Show, which
saw both splashy news from key rivals and a lack of new CSeries
The maiden flight will cap the multi-billion dollar,
five-year program that Bombardier hopes will position the
company to compete against industry giants Boeing Co and
ENTRY INTO SERVICE BY 2014?
The latest delay highlights skepticism over whether the
company can meet its ambitious target for the CSeries of entry
into service a year from first flight.
The industry has been burned too many times by delays that
have lasted years, like those that plagued Boeing's 787
Dreamliner and the Airbus 380.
"It's not, in the grand scheme of the program, terribly
material. It's more of a reputation issue as opposed to a
financial one," said Murray.
"So the bigger question is, when's the real
entry-into-service date... At this particular point, I've got
limited expectations for deliveries of the CSeries in 2014. But
we'll see," Murray said.
Bombardier shares, which have been volatile since last
week's Paris Air Show, were down 10 Canadian cents at C$4.57
after touching a low of C$4.46.
The company has announced 177 firm CSeries orders so far and
has repeatedly said it is confident it will reach its target of
at least 300 firm orders by the time the plane enters into
Sales have been slow, however, with some airlines waiting
for the first flight to see if the technology and efficiency
claims are proven, industry analysts have said.
The CSeries is expected to have a 15 percent cash operating
cost advantage, a 20 percent fuel burn advantage and will be
significantly quieter, the company says.
Bombardier said on Wednesday it was in the final stages of
testing before the first flight. These tests include power runs,
and low and high speed taxiing. Ground vibration tests and
software upgrades have been completed and the company has
submitted a flight test permit to Transport Canada.