Delayed delivery of certain critical components leading to a need to “reharmonize” integration tasks has forced Bombardier to delay first flight of its new CSeries CS100 until at least the end of next June, roughly six months later than the most recent target. If all goes according to the latest plans, the smaller of the two-variant narrowbody series will consequently enter service in the middle of 2014.
The timeline for the larger of the pair–the CS300–remains unchanged, added Bombardier, meaning it still expects that airplane to enter service by the end of 2014.
“Since the beginning of the year, substantial headway has been made in the CSeries development program and testing is progressing well,” said Bombardier president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin in a statement issued last week. “We have used the momentum gained over the last few months to meet a number of key milestones; however, some areas require more time. Together with our suppliers, we have now fully harmonized all commitments to the program’s schedule. Therefore, the CS100’s first flight will now occur by the end of June 2013–a timeline that all parties have agreed is achievable.”
Speaking during last week’s third-quarter earnings call, Beaudoin pointed to the complexity of many of the CSeries’ systems–foremost among them the airplane’s fly-by-wire system–as another contributor to its failure to meet the December first-flight goal. Still, he expressed satisfaction with the “substantial headway” made during the last year and what he called momentum gained by suppliers after their failure to deliver parts on time led to a sequencing “challenge.” He wouldn’t identify any of the CSeries’ some 55 Tier 1 suppliers and 300 sub-tier suppliers as a culprit, however, and, in fact, acknowledged that delays by Bombardier in delivering design drawings led to some of the delays.
Consequently, Beaudoin downplayed the potential for any penalties Bombardier might impose. Similarly, he as much as dismissed the consequences of any penalties Bombardier might have to pay to its customers, emphasizing his company’s complete transparency and conservative approach to delivery guarantees.
In terms of cost to the program, the delay will not result in an expenditure that deviates from the original business plan, which, said Beaudoin, contained contingencies for such an event.
Still holding firm orders for 138 CSeries jets, Bombardier has collected letters of intent, options and commitments accounting for another 352 airplanes.