MONTREAL - Bombardier Aerospace (TSX:BBD.B) says its new CSeries aircraft will be primarily a Canadian-built plane even though few of the selected suppliers are based in Canada.
"It's definitely a Canadian plane," Ben Boehm, Bombardier's new commercial aircraft program director, said in an interview from the Paris Air Show.
The Montreal-based aircraft manufacturer announced Tuesday an additional 17 CSeries suppliers.
The 21 different tier one suppliers selected to date account for about 97 per cent of the supply base for the narrow body aircraft that is expected to enter service in 2013.
The lone Canadian-based supplier is CAE Inc. (TSX:CAE), which will build an engineering development simulator and a prototype CSeries full-flight simulator. It will also provide engineering services and simulation to support the design, testing and certification of the aircraft.
The value of the agreement was not disclosed.
Most of the suppliers are in the United States and others are in Britain, Germany, Belgium and Italy. Some have bases in Canada.
"About 10 per cent of this product in terms of the value is actually being designed and built in Canada, not including the Bombardier portion," Boehm said.
Over the next four years, about 1,300 Canadian engineers will work to design and integrate the product.
The airplane and the Pratt & Whitney engine built in the United States will be assembled in Mirabel.
"By peak points you're going to have 3,500 Canadians putting it together for the next 20 years."
Bombardier will also manufacture the cockpit and rear fuselage, and has moved the flight testing from to Mirabel, north of Montreal, from Wichita, Kas. Groundbreaking on the facility is set for this fall.
The CSeries aircraft are being designed for the longer range, single-aisle, 100- to 145-seat market.
Rob Dewar, vice-president of the CSeries integrated product development team, said Bombardier is "very proud of the team of suppliers selected."
"These suppliers have the technical capabilities and experience to help us develop the CSeries aircraft which will deliver the lowest operating costs in their class, exceptional operational flexibility, wide body comfort and an unmatched environmental footprint," he stated.
The centre fuselage being developed by China's Shenyang Aircraft will be shipped to Montreal this summer, as will a three-quarter scale composite wing being built at Bombardier's facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
CAE said its simulators and its research and development contribution will be completed at its headquarters in Montreal.
The supplier contract doesn't include future sales of CSeries simulators, but the company typically sells on full-flight simulator for every 25 to 30 aircraft ordered. The 7000-series devices have list prices ranging between $11 million and $16 million.