We believe the first flight of the Bombardier CSeries is planned for late August or early September, based on the coming flight “in weeks” statements from BBD. We note this is “weeks” rather than “days,” and it is not as ambiguous as “the third [or fourth] quarter.”
BBD said it can’t “pinpoint” a date for first flight, in response to a reporter’s question about the first flight at the end of August or in September.
CEO Pierre Beaudoin said on the earnings call that the integration of the APU and engines is running smoothly and software upgrades are being upgraded but is taking longer than anticipated. He said first flight is to be in “coming weeks.”
During the Q&A, BBD said “nothing has changed as far as entry into service” despite previous statements that the flight test program would take 12 months, and this timeframe was reiterated. So this certainly suggests EIS slips from mid-2014 to late third quarter at the earliest. (Some analysts yesterday slipped the EIS to early 2015 and we tend to agree.)
BBD would not comment on the possible impact the delays will have on compensation coming.
The company also said that the “earned value” of tests were not quite as anticipated, citing an example of wiring being stalled upside down that requires up to two days to fix rather than a half-day for the anticipated testing.
“The test for the first Flight Test Vehicle is much more intense than for the next FTVs, so it takes a lot more time,” BBD said. “This is the first time…we’re learning.”
The flight test program will have five CS100s and two CS300s and additional tests with the first couple of production airplanes.
“We’ll adjust as we need to adjust [the flight test schedule of 12 months” depending on what emerges.
Embraer’s E2 program begins in the regional arena and comes up into the CSeries arena, and EIS is from 2018 and it is a derivative, Bombardier noted.
“We have two very good products in a unique market. The airlines say they have a need for a smaller airplane with seat costs for the larger airplanes, and the A319 and 737 [700/7] do not do,” the company said.