August 2012

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Exclusive: Bombardier aims to build 20 CSeries per month

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Mirabel-Expansion.jpgBombardier plans a major expansion of its Mirabel, Québec facility to support an ambitious ramp up that, if required, will see 20 new CSeries aircraft produced a each month by 2016.

Gary Scott, Bombardier President of commercial aircraft, spoke to Flightglobal at the Dubai Air Show about the plans to "more than double" the size of Mirabel to support production of the CSeries.

"We're planning, and have all of our suppliers committed to, a day rate," says Scott.

"So we will be prepared to go as high as a day rate, because we think we'll need to, so 20 airplanes per month. Now can we go higher? Sure. It'll just take additional investment, but clearly it is going to need a significant production rate," he adds.

Currently the facility, which supports CRJ production, is roughly 700,000 sq ft. and will be expanded by just under 1 million sq. ft. as CSeries production gets underway.

Twenty 100 to 125-seat CS100 and 120 to 149-seat CS300 aircraft per month would be an unprecedented production rate for Bombardier, says Scott. The CRJ200 operated at a one-and-a-half-day rate, the previous production record holder.

FlightBlogger obtained a conceptual graphic (above) of the CSeries infrastructure development at the Mirabel facility that depicts a multi-stage expansion of the site. Initially planned at a 1.2 million sq. ft. expansion, Scott says that some administration functions, for example, will be combined with those on the CRJ program to make better use of the existing footprint, bringing the expansion to below 1 million sq. feet.

The planning for consolidation of administrative functions with existing CRJ facilities comes as Bombardier has announced a planned production cut of the CRJ line, though Scott says that the consolidation is "an obvious way to reduce our cost and our footprint."

Phase One, currently underway is the construction of the Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area (CIASTA) that will validate the aircraft systems one year before first flight in 2012.

Phase Two, says Scott, will include construction of supplier satellite facilities to support wing and engine integration, while Phase Three will see the building of final assembly (Phase Four initially on the chart) bay and pre-flight hangar. Phase Four will establish a paint hangar and delivery center (initially Phase Five) for completed aircraft.

The conceptual chart also includes a section labeled Phase Six, for final assembly and pre-flight extensions to meet a one-day rate.

While Scott says the plans for CSeries assembly are not yet finalized, Bombardier has decided to build the CS100 and CS300 on a pulse line, with plans to eventually transitioning to a moving line as processes mature. 

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