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David Coleal, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said he’s confident the company’s Challenger 350 business jet will successfully go head-to-head with Embraer Executive Jets’ recently announced Praetor 500 midsize and Praetor 600 super-midsize business jets.
Calling the Challenger 350 a “category-killing aircraft” and adding that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Coleal spoke at a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) on Oct. 15 in Orlando, Fla.
Bombardier delivered updates on its key aircraft programs, most notably the Global 7500 long-range business jet, which received Transport Canada type certification on Sept. 28. Coleal said certification from both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency are expected imminently.
The Global 7500 is in full production in both Toronto and Montreal, with completions now underway on the first customer aircraft. Entry into service (EIS) is expected later this year.
Paul Sislian, Bombardier’s chief operating officer, provided an update on the Global 5500/6500 aircraft programs.
He said the aircraft are set apart by new purpose-built Rolls-Royce Pearl engines, cutting edge interior and avionics features, and a newly optimized wing with a re-profiled trailing edge.
Seventy per cent of the Global 5500/6500 flight test program is complete, with EIS on track for the end of 2019. First revealed at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in May 2018, the two new long-range jets are currently under development at Bombardier’s testing facility in Wichita, Kan.
Interior completions of the first customer aircraft are scheduled to begin later this year. The jets will feature the patented Nuage seat, as well as the reconfigurable Nuage chaise in the conference suite. With a 4K entertainment system and ultra-fast connectivity in the cabin, Bombardier is promising passengers unmatched productivity and comfort.
In the cockpit, the Global 5500/6500 will debut the first true combined vision system (CVS) in business aviation. Now being developed by Rockwell Collins, the new system promises to seamlessly merge enhanced and synthetic images into a single view.
Bombardier also reiterated its commitment to customer support.
On Oct. 3, the company announced it would be building a new $100 million service centre at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. By 2020, the new 300,000-square-foot facility will be performing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, aircraft modifications, avionics installations and aircraft on ground (AOG) support for Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft.
Jean-Christophe Gallagher, vice-president and general manager, Customer Experience, said the OEM’s expanding network of service centre facilities and mobile response team units is creating a need for additional maintenance technicians across its network of service centres.
He said the company is currently hiring for a variety of technical and professional roles.