As part of a major consolidation project that it says will save $25 million a year, Bombardier has embarked on an 18-month project to consolidate all Learjet production, completions and deliveries in Wichita, and all such Challenger work in Montreal.
The 11th annual Safety Standdown–sponsored by Bombardier Aerospace, NBAA, the FAA and the NTSB–concluded late last month in Wichita. This year’s “War on Error” was expanded to a three-day general session, preceded by optional one-day workshops on Monday. The annual event is free to attendees. This year marked the first time the Safety Board cosponsored the seminar.
While Bombardier’s Wichita Learjet facility remains idle until next month during a planned, but unprecedented, four-month plant shutdown, company managers and machinists union representatives are “talking” about how to reduce production costs. According to a Bombardier spokesman, the Wichita facility ranks dead last in cost efficiency out of the company’s six aerospace manufacturing plants.
Construction started last month on Cessna’s new Citation Service Center at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The 447,259-sq-ft facility, being built on 124 acres, is scheduled to be finished in the fourth quarter of next year. In anticipation of increased traffic, a new taxiway was completed in March. The support facility will operate 24/7 and Cessna expects to service 75 to 80 Citations a day.
Bombardier Aerospace is negotiating to acquire a 234,000-sq-ft hangar at Tucson International Airport to expand its aircraft interior completions capacity. Bombardier’s Tucson site already handles completions for the Montreal-based company’s Global Express, Challenger 604 and Learjet family.
Goodrich has relocated and expanded its wheel and brake overhaul facility in Wichita. The new facility on Pueblo Drive is 60 percent larger than its predecessor at 2000 Airport Rd., which opened in 1995. The center overhauls steel and carbon brakes for Cessna’s Citation line, Bombardier’s Learjet 45, Raytheon’s Premier I and Beech King Airs and the Pilatus PC-12.
During a recent press conference to report quarterly results, Bombardier Aerospace president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin dismissed as untrue persistent industry speculation that the Learjet line is on the block or that Learjet assembly work and the role of the Wichita flight-test center would be moved from Wichita to Montreal. The Tucson facility will become a dedicated service center for Bombardier’s business and regional jets.
Oklahoma-based Nordam Group has opened a business aircraft interior components production center at the former 70,000-sq-ft Bomhoff Industries facility in Wichita.
To demonstrate the feasibility of a major restructuring of its aircraft cabin-completion process, Bombardier recently delivered the first Challenger 604 to be outfitted by the Canadian airframer in Montreal, where the airplane is built.
Cessna Aircraft is riding high on the crest of the business jet sales wave, and it just got a little higher this week at the NBAA Convention. Besides the volume orders from XOJet and Japan Air Systems announced at the show, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer has so far logged 53 walk-up orders from customers during NBAA 2007.