Bombardier released here its first-ever forecast for the business aviation market segments in which it competes, and the Canadian company’s crystal ball is about as rosy as anyone else’s. As far as new products go, Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Pierre Beaudoin said only that “our first priority is the Learjet line.”
Overall deliveries of Bombardier business jets in the six months ending July 31 declined slightly to 99 aircraft from 101 in the same period last year, the company said yesterday. However, it noted that backlogs for its business jets remain “strong” despite the credit crunch facing financial markets, while deliveries are poised to “accelerate” in the second half of the year.
Executive aircraft operator PrivatAir is preparing for a full launch of its Select Membership block charter program later this year in the U.S. and expects to extend it to European customers early next year. The Swiss-based company has been quietly offering Select Membership to some clients in the U.S. over the past two years and has used the time to refine its pricing and service structure.
Midcoast Aviation of East Cahokia, Ill., has taken delivery of the first of four Challenger 850s, all of which will be completed for VistaJet. The Canadian dedicated charter operator has a fleet primarily of medium- to long-range business jets and operates more than 275 flights monthly, carrying a total of some 500 passengers.
Jet Aviation comes to the Paris Air Show complete with a newly appointed CEO, Peter Edwards (former president of Bombardier Business Aircraft); a new North American COO, Jim Ziegler; and an expanded presence at Basel, Switzerland, where last month it opened anew widebody hangar.
Recognizing the complexity customers face when they have to work with multiple people during maintenance, Bombardier has created customer support teams that will provide a single point of contact for customers 24 hours a day. The company has opened customer response centers in Montreal, for Challenger and Global operators, and in Wichita for Learjet operators.
Bombardier released strong first-quarter numbers this week, and all indications are that growth will continue for the rest of the fiscal year. Revenue for the aerospace division increased from $2 billion during the same period last year to $2.3 billion this year. Aircraft orders were up exponentially as well. During the first quarter last year, the company took orders for 52 aircraft, 33 of them business jets.
In a ceremony yesterday that briefly took on the appearance of a celebratory conga line at the Bombardier stand (Booth No. 7500), three customers signed contracts for a total of four aircraft valued at approximately $101.4 million.
Bombardier Aerospace is another manufacturer celebrating the rapid growth of European business aviation, announcing that Zug, Switzerland-based VistaJet has added to its existing all-Bombardier fleet.
Bombardier yesterday announced the sale of two Learjets here at EBACE to European Skytime of Gloucestershire in the UK. The Canadian manufacturer will deliver the Learjet 40XR and 45XR to Skytime within two years.