Bombardier’s CSeries is progressing towards a first flight at the end of June, but its order book is going backwards. Firm orders have slipped to 145 with the removal of three CS100s due to “financial difficulties” at the undisclosed customer.

The unnamed customer also had options on three additional CS100s. Bombardier announced in June 2011 that a “well-established airline” had placed three firm orders and three options for CS100s for delivery beginning in 2014.

Firm orders now stand at 63 CS100s and 82 of the larger CS300s, for nine airlines. Bombardier’s goal is to have 300 firm orders by the planned entry into service of the CS100 in mid-2014. Total commitments now stand at 388 aircraft.

Two sizeable deals remain to be firmed up and added to the backlog. Shareholders of Moscow-based leasing company Ilyushin Finance had been expected to approve a firm order for 32 CS300s, plus options for 10, at the end of March.

“There are still a few steps to accomplish, but no showstoppers,” says Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier president and CEO.

An order for 12 CS100s, plus options for 18, from Canada’s Porter Airlines has not been added to the backlog because it is conditional on the carrier gaining approval to operate the aircraft from its hub at Toronto City Airport.

“Porter needs to accomplish some steps at the airport,” says Beaudoin. “They are working with the city and we are monitoring that. I am hopeful they will be done quite quickly.”

To operate the CSeries, Porter must get the city council, airports authority and federal government to agree to extend the runway and lift the ban on jets at the island airport, where it now flies Bombardier Q400s. “The CSeries noise level is equivalent to a turboprop,” he says.

The first CSeries, aircraft FTV-1, will move to the flight-test center at Mirabel “very shortly,” Beaudoin says. The aircraft is “essentially complete,” eight of nine static tests required before first flight have been accomplished and safety-of-flight testing on the Aircraft 0 integrated systems test rig is progressing, he says.

To meet the goal of a one-year test program between first flight and certification of the CS100 in mid-2014, delivery of the remaining four test aircraft “will have to be quite rapid,” Beaudoin says. There is margin built into the schedule, “but not for anything unforeseen,” he adds.

“We think CSeries flight test will be different to what we saw on previous programs. Because of the amount of ground testing we have done, we have far more understanding of the systems,” Beaudoin says. “If we have the normal issues in testing, then 12 months is realistic.”

Whether Bombardier will announce any CSeries order at next month’s Paris air show is up to the customers, he says. “There is quite a bit of activity on CSeries. A lot of people are waiting for the first flight, which we expect to accelerate interest.”