Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 13 seconds.
During the annual press events the day before the opening of NBAA-BACE, Bombardier addressed the gathered international media with updates on aircraft as well as various ongoing and upcoming projects.
President and CEO Eric Martel kicked things off with a summary of the challenges the company has faced in recent times including supply chain issues and staffing, particularly through the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past few years, the company’s focus has been on its two business aircraft platforms, the Global and Challenger models, which will generate approximately $7.6 billion in sales. Bombardier has increased hiring to 17,000 employees worldwide to engineer, produce, and maintain the 5,000 aircraft being operated.
“We added a million square feet of space last year for the 275 to 300 airplanes that we’re touching every day around the world,” Martel stated.
Highlights of two of Bombardier’s leading aircraft were noted during the press conference. The first was for the Global 7500. Very recently, the 150th example of the company flagship was delivered, which coincided with a worldwide accumulation of 100,000 flight hours for the type. Additionally, in the past 30 days the 7500 set 20 speed records between cities, details of which will be released soon.
Martel also provided brief updates on the highly anticipated Global 8000, which was announced at EBACE 2022. While still in its certification process, the 8000 has now exceeded 150 hours of test flying in addition to over 1,000 hours of test rigging. Touted as the new speed and distance leader in the industry, with the smoothest ride and lowest cabin altitude, the newest addition to the Global fleet is expected to enter into service in Q2 2025.
“The airplane is going to be capable of flying faster than the 7500 and fly at least 8000 nautical miles with improved cabin pressure. The testing is going fantastic right now and we are excited about the capabilities we will be offering to our customers,” Martel remarked.
Executive VP of aftermarket services and strategy Paul Sislian provided further updates on support operations. Highlights included expanded service centres in London and Singapore, the latter of which added 300,000 square feet of space and was awarded service centre of the year in Asia-Pacific. New facilities have opened in Paris, Melbourne (Australia), and Miami, with an additional location opening in the next couple of years in Abu Dhabi. The centres will also be capable of outfitting aircraft with the latest connectivity offering, Gogo’s 5G network, with the highest bandwidth and fastest speeds in the market. This upgrade represents an increase of the 4G’s 10 Mbps to 80 Mbps and will be operational by mid-2024.
Sislian also announced the official launch of Bombardier’s certified pre-owned (CPO) aircraft program. The offerings under the CPO program will replace and upgrade nearly all cabin and cockpit components.
“When you come in, what you’re going to feel is like you’re walking into a brand-new aircraft,” Sislian stated. The upgrades will provide peace of mind to new owners with a one-year warranty under this turnkey operation.
The final update of the event was provided by senior VP of engineering and product development Stephen McCullough. He offered insight into the EcoJet research project, which is an ongoing testbed of the blended wing body (BWB) aircraft. This project has been in place for 15 years, with the first flyable version being a seven per cent scaled article with an eight-foot wingspan, which was remotely piloted, with the goal of cutting aircraft emissions by 50 per cent.
Recently, the latest advancement of the program, the Phase 2 aircraft, began testing with a size increase to an 18-foot wingspan. While McCullough did not provide exact flight hours, he explained that the incredible amount of data being attained on each flight proves far more valuable than flight hours alone. While these advancements in the program are significant, this is a long-term project that Bombardier expects to be a model of what can and will be offered on future business jets.
During NBAA-BACE 2023, Bombardier will be displaying its entire lineup of new aircraft, alongside one example from the just announced CPO program, at the static display at Henderson Executive Airport.