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By Euan Rocha
TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc <BBDb.TO> said on Friday its CSeries aircraft had received a flight test permit from Transport Canada, paving the way for the delayed maiden flight of the narrow-body jet.
Montreal-based Bombardier, which has already delayed the new aircraft's maiden flight three times, did not provide a specific date for the voyage, saying merely that the flight will occur in the coming weeks.
However, a source familiar with the situation said the first flight is likely to occur before September 17, when the company is planning to host an event in Mirabel, Quebec, to celebrate the maiden voyage.
The source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media, said the exact date of the first flight has not yet been finalized, as the aircraft still has to undergo high-speed taxi tests, landing gear tests and other checks before it takes to the air.
The single-aisle CSeries, with up to 160 seats, is the first all-new narrow-body jetliner in decades and will challenge top-selling Boeing Co <BA.N> 737 and Airbus <EAD.PA> A320 aircraft.
"Following receipt of Transport Canada's flight test permit, we are very close to the CSeries airliner's first flight," said Mike Arcamone, the president of Bombardier's commercial aircraft segment, in a statement. "Pending optimal weather, the CSeries aircraft will soon take to the skies."
Shares of Bombardier were up 7 Canadian cents at C$4.80 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Phil Berlowitz)