New jet takes on aviation giants


New jet takes on aviation giants

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The Bombardier CS100 had its first test flight Monday, at Mirabel Airport, in Quebec.

Bombardier hopes to take on bigger rivals Airbus and Boeing with its relatively lightweight, quiet craft.

Ignoring the trend towards larger planes, the Bombardier will target the lower end of the passenger jet market -- aircraft carrying more than 100 but fewer than 150 passengers.

Bombardier has already won 177 orders for its CSeries craft, from carriers such as Latvia's AirBaltic, but that number falls far short of the company's goal of 300 sales by the time the plane enters service in 2015.

"We couldn't have wished for a better maiden flight," said the new jet's test pilot -- perhaps with a sigh of relief -- after touching down.

Test flight for Bombardier CS100 takes place in Quebec
First new jet family in decades aims to be lighter, quieter than rivals
Plane already has more than 150 orders -- but that's only half the goal
Budget has overshot $3.4 billion estimate by $500 million

(CNN) -- Two colossi dominate the commercial aviation industry like -- Boeing and Airbus.
Now a smaller rival, touting an apparently lighter and quieter craft, has entered the ring.
The virgin test flight of the Bombardier CS100 -- from the first new family of commercial passenger jets in decades -- took place at Mirabel Airport, in Quebec, Monday.
Apart from a minor alert going off mid-air, the two-and-a-half-hour flight was a success, the Age reports.
"The performance of the CSeries aircraft was very impressive!" said the new jet's test pilot, Chuck Ellis -- with, one imagines, the slightest sigh of relief.
"We couldn't have wished for a better maiden flight."
Quiet, lightweight
Expected to go into service in 2015, the Bombardier plane has two advantages over its rivals, its makers says.
Made of lightweight composite materials, the CS100 beats Airbus and Boeing for fuel performance, most industry experts reportedly agree.
Bombardier says its CSeries planes will also be quieter than any existing commercial jet.
That's probably not because the company has heard the cries of long-suffering residents beneath the Heathrow flight path and near other heavily trafficked airports around the world but because regulation increasingly demands controls on airplane noise.
Orders in
Competing at the lower end of the passenger jet market -- for single-aisle aircraft carrying between 100 and 149 passengers -- the CS100 has already won orders from carriers such as Latvia's AirBaltic, which is buying 10 of the planes.
"You could hardly hear the take-off," Martin Gauss, CEO of AirBaltic, said after watching the test flight in Quebec.
"This was one of the reasons we bought it, along with the cost savings from lower fuel burn."
There's a good reason why new commercial jet series come along so rarely -- the astronomical cost involved in developing them.
The CS100 had already cost $US500 million more than its official estimate of $US3.5 billion, Bombardier said.

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