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Air Canada has an eye on Bombardier C Series buy

Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu speaks to media Tuesday at the opening of the airline’s new global operations centre in Brampton, Ont. Mr. Rovinescu said Bombardier Inc.’s new C Series commercial jet is one option the airline is considering to replace its aging fleet of narrow-body aircraft.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Air Canada chief executive officer Calin Rovinescu said Bombardier Inc.'s new C Series commercial jet is one option the airline is considering to replace its aging fleet of narrow-body aircraft.

"Of course it hasn't flown yet, but we like the C Series based on what we've seen so far on paper," Mr. Rovinescu told reporters in the lobby of Air Canada's new operations centre in Brampton, Ont.

Bombardier's $3.4-billion (Canadian) bid to expand into the competitive narrow-body commercial airplane market was initially expected to take to the air late last year. However, the Montreal-based aircraft manufacturer has delayed the maiden test flight three times since then. Analysts now predict the plane won't begin commercial service until early 2015.

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Air Canada is looking for a plane to replace about 100 of its aging regional jets.

Mr. Rovinescu said that the C Series is just one of several aircraft that the airline is considering.

"We're studying the C Series very carefully and we haven't made a determination yet but expect to do so by the end of the year," Mr. Rovinescu said.

Air Canada, which is coming off the second-best quarter in the corporation's history, held a press conference to announce the opening of its new global operations centre northwest of Toronto on Tuesday.

The new $60-million building is designed to house all of the airline's operations under one roof, but it wont be until January that all the various divisions are moved in.

"With modern technology, we could have built our operations centre virtually anywhere in the world. However, we choose Brampton and the GTA because it does indeed underscore our determination to turn Pearson International into a global hub airport," Mr. Rovinescu said.

The centre will also employ about 400 people in "highly desirable, highly technical jobs," he added.

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