MIAMI — Bombardier announced today that it has started the CS100 route-proving program in Europe, as the jetliner nears its long-awaited entry into service (EIS) with launch customer Swiss International Air Lines in the second quarter of this year.

The program is expected to take place during a month, and just as the program conducted last year across North America, it 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.

“As the launch customer and the first airline that will operate the CS100 aircraft, the European route- proving program is very important to us and will provide a real indication of how the aircraft will operate in our network when we take delivery of our first CS100 aircraft in the next few months” said Peter Wojahn, Chief Technical Officer, Swiss International Air Lines.

The month-long route-proving program is being operated by Bombardier from Swiss International Air Lines’ Zurich hub. According to Bombardier, the program will include flights to several major European cities including Brussels, Vienna and Warsaw.

“The route-proving flights will bring the CSeries aircraft closer to the flying public in Europe who will ultimately be amongst the first in the world to fly aboard the aircraft – the first all-new airliner built for the 100- to 150-seat market in close to three decades” said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.

Additionally, Bombardier confirmed that its eighth CSeries Flight Test Vehicle (FTV), the second CS300, has joined the flight test program last week. According to VP-CSeries Aircraft Program Rob Dewar, the company is “Delighted that its test program, which is dedicated to cabin and interior certification, is off to a great start and progressing extremely well.”

The CSeries program has been plagued by ever-increasing cost overruns and a schedule running two years behind the EIS, causing severe financial problems to Bombardier. Last October, the Government of Québec announced a US$1 billion investment in the program.

Last December, the airframer received the certification of the CS100, and it is expected to receive the certification of the CS300 in the coming months, and its EIS would take place in the second half of the year.

As of today, Bombardier has received 678 commitments for both variants, with 243 firm orders. Last month, Air Canada announced a deal to acquire up to 75 CSeries, Based on the list price, the order is valued at approximately US$3.8 billion.