Qatar Says Bombardier CSeries Lacks Flight Tests as Delay Bites

Qatar Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said a lack of flight-test hours for Bombardier Inc.’s CSeries narrow-body aircraft is exacerbating concerns over a jet that’s already years behind schedule.

While Qatar hasn’t lost interest in the airliner, the delays and strong competition make the model a tough sell, Al Baker told journalists today at the Dubai Air Show. Qatar has ordered the Airbus SAS A320neo, which will come with the same engines as the CSeries, Bombardier’s first foray into a market controlled by the European planemaker and Boeing.

“It’s already two years late from original launch date, it’s just started to fly and it hasn’t accumulated enough hours, with only one aircraft flying at the moment,” Al Baker said. “Once they have substantial orders, Qatar Airways would be interested in it and any future generation of technologically advanced airplanes.”

Bombardier has struggled to build momentum for the CSeries model, which is still 123 firm orders short of a target of 300 by the time of service entry. The Montreal-based company is depending on the new jet to almost double annual revenue toward decade’s end, garnering $5 billion to $8 billion to bolster sales that totaled $16.8 billion in 2012.

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