Canadian manufacturer Bombardier announced Wednesday a six-month delay to launch its new CSeries aircraft as well as the closure of a German rail plant and cuts of 1,200 workers worldwide.
The smallest of its new narrow body 110-seat aircraft, the CS100, was to be flight tested in December, but that has now been pushed to the end of June, company president Pierre Beaudoin said.
He blamed key suppliers for missing deliveries on time, leading to some speculation that the launch of Bombardier's slightly larger and more popular CS300 jet with 130 seats could also be derailed.
"Bombardier's credibility will take a hit and we believe that the market will be skeptical of the schedule until the plane actually flies," said National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen.
"However, we do not think a six-month delay will hurt the CSeries program in the long run," he added, noting that "much longer delays" at competitors Airbus and Boeing had little impact on orders.
To date, 13 companies have pre-ordered 138 CSeries jets, which Bombardier says are 20 percent more fuel efficient than currently available narrow body aircraft.
Beaudoin insisted in a conference call that Bombardier and its suppliers have agreed to the new timeline for the CS100 and that the CS300 launch was still on track for the end of 2014.
The layoffs of approximately 1,200 employees at Bombardier's trains division are part of restructuring operations and include workers at the shuttered plant in Aachen, Germany.