Bombardier CSeries test fleet grounded

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MONTREAL (AP) — Bombardier's CSeries test flight program was grounded Friday following what the company called "an engine-related incident" on one of the aircraft during ground maintenance testing.

A company spokesman said there were no injuries and testing will resume pending an investigation by the company, engine-make Pratt & Whitney and Transport Canada.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board sent an investigator to the scene to gather information and assess the incident.

Montreal-based Bombardier, the world's third-largest maker of civilian commercial aircraft, has said it hopes to capture half the global market of the 100-to-149-seat planes, and has marketed the CSeries plane as being 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the comparable Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family of aircraft. The CSeries is critical to Bombardier Aerospace, which has spent years designing the advanced-technology jet.

The nature of the incident in that occurred late Thursday afternoon in Quebec wasn't immediately disclosed, but firefighters from Mirabel airport responded to a call.

"We remain focused on meeting the CSeries aircraft development schedule and entry into service in the second half of 2015, but safety is the priority, Marc Duchesne said.

Analyst David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity said the news wasn't good for a program that has already endured a series of delays, but the impact will depend on the seriousness of what occurred.

Tyerman said the incident could delay the certification and will probably further postpone orders, which have been weak as potential customers await flight data from the four test aircraft produced so far.

Shares of Bombardier were down more than three percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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