Sweden-based Braathens Aviation reportedly has informed Bombardier (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) that it is abandoning its plans to be the launch customer of Bombardier's composites-intensive CSeries single-aisle passenger jet. Braathens' decision follows the grounding of the CSeries test fleet in May after engine failure during ground trials.
"We have informed Bombardier that we will not assume the role of formal launch operator of the aircraft type," Braathens said in a statement on Aug. 29. "Due to increased uncertainty, we are discussing other possible changes to the aircraft delivery schedule with Bombardier."
Bombardier had not disclosed previously who the launch customer would be, thus the Braathens decision represents the first confirmation of who the first operator would have been. Bombardier, for its parts, says it has other customers who are interested in being the launch customer of the CSeries.
The CSeries, launched in 2008, is designed to challenge the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 in the single-aisle commercial market. It was originally scheduled to enter service in 2013, but has been hampered by software and other challenges. Bombardier's current schedule has the CSeries entering service in 2015, and the recent grounding has not changed that plan, according to official Bombardier statements.