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Friday, March 18, 2011

Delivery of CSeries not expected to be delayed by Pratt engines, says analyst

By Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - Pratt & Whitney has given assurances that development of fuel-efficient engines for Bombardier's CSeries aircraft is on target and should not cause delays in the delivery schedule for the new aircraft, an industry analyst said Friday.

Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets said he gained comfort regarding the delivery schedule after touring the Montreal facilities of the two aerospace companies.

Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), told him that all milestones for the engine had been met and that testing results had exceeded expectations.

The newly designed geared turbofan engines underwent successful flight testing last summer and are currently be subjected to cold-weather testing.

Spracklin said there has been "a fair degree of investor concern" about whether Bombardier will be able to deliver the 110- to 149-seat planes on schedule beginning the end of 2013.

A string of problems has forced Boeing to delay the delivery of its new 787 Dreamliner, which, like the CSeries, is made of composite materials.

The main concern about delays relates to the complexity of the components provided by suppliers, he wrote in a report.

Bombardier Aerospace president Guy Hachey has said the company is working hard to ensure that several key components of the aircraft, including the Chinese-built fuselage, composite wings and fly-by-wire technology, proceed as scheduled.

The aircraft division of transportation giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) said it is meeting with potential CSeries customers as the plane's development proceeds.

It hosted a meeting this week in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is planning another session next month in Montreal. Other sessions will take place later this year in Asia and the South Pacific.

During the meetings, Bombardier provides updates and hears about specific requirements from airlines and leasing companies.

Participants at the Montreal session will have access to a recently updated mockup of the CSeries.

Meanwhile, Bombardier has delivered a large-scale model of the plane that will be displayed at the Montreal headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier shares gained 10 cents, or 1.59 per cent, at $6.38 in morning trading Friday.

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