MIAMI — Bombardier announced today that it has started the CS300 route-proving program in Europe, as the jetliner nears its entry into service (EIS) with launch customer airBaltic in the fourth quarter of this year.

The program will assess the airfield performance, landings, turnarounds and on-ground operations of the aircraft. These data will provide an accurate indication of how the aircraft will perform in a typical airline schedule to and from different airports.

“It’s exciting for the airBaltic team to welcome the CS300 to its home base in Riga for the first time to see the aircraft simulate operations in our route system that covers much of Europe – all in advance of our first delivery later this fall,” said Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer, airBaltic.

The flights – which will operate from the airline’s base in Riga include stops in Vilnius, Lithuania, Tallinn, Estonia and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – will use airBaltic air and ground operational practices.

“Our teams are working closely together as we ramp up activities for a real indication of how the CS300 will operate in the network and we are confident that its entry-into-service with airBaltic later this year will be impressive,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President, C Series, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

With a firm order for 20 CS300 airliners – which will eventually join airBaltic’s 12 Q400 turboprops – the airline will gradually transition to an all-Bombardier fleet.