The Learjet 85 is one step closer to beginning its flight-testing phase after the announcement yesterday by Bombardier that the FAA issued the jet’s first flight-test permit. Engineers have run flight test vehicle 1’s (FTV1) Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307Bs and completed low-speed taxi testing. Before the first flight, preparations will include finalizing “the configuration of the aircraft, more engine runs and high-speed taxi tests,” according to Bombardier.
Bombardier announced it will be adding interior refurbishment capabilities to the line and heavy maintenance offered at its new, wholly owned service center at Seletar Airport in Singapore. The OEM has selected Ontario-based Flying Colours to provide interior refurbishment services in Singapore to Learjet, Challenger and Global customers.
Bombardier Aerospace’s business jet division accounted for the bulk of net orders and deliveries last year at the company, according to full-year 2013 results released today. The company delivered 238 aircraft (180 business jets and 58 airliners) last year, up from 233 (179 business jets and 54 airliners) in 2012, boosting revenues by 11 percent, to $18.2 billion, and profits by $87 million, to $893 million. It expects to deliver 280 aircraft–200 business jets and 80 airliners–this year.
During Bombardier’s 2013 financial results conference call this morning, president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin provided some insight into the delays affecting the all-composite Learjet 85 program, which had originally been slated to enter service in 2013. Last year, Bombardier revised this to projected first flight of the first flight test vehicle, FTV1, by year-end 2013, though the midsize jet still has yet to fly. Certification and entry into service were also moved to mid-2014 earlier last year, but that timeline will undoubtedly have to be once again pushed farther right into the future.
The Malaysia Department of Civil Aviation has given repair station approval to the Bombardier Aircraft Service Center in Singapore. The facility is Bombardier’s tenth factory-owned service center and, with the Amsterdam, Netherlands facility, the second outside North America.
The Singapore facility, which entered service at the end of last year, will be inaugurated during the Singapore Airshow.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered 180 business jets last year, up one from 2012. However, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer missed its 2013 guidance by 10 business airplanes, “mainly due to the transition from the Learjet 40XR and Learjet 45XR to the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75, which entered service in the fourth quarter.” The company originally expected deliveries of these revamped light jets to start in the third quarter. It shipped 29 Learjets, 89 Challengers and 62 Globals last year, compared with 39 Learjets, 86 Challengers and 54 Globals in 2012.
Bombardier Aerospace scored a flurry of orders for 58 Challenger and Global business jets worth nearly $3 billion late last month, allowing the Montreal-based aircraft manufacturer to end the year on a high note. Including these 11th-hour orders, the company sold some 310 business jets last year.
Avcorp Industries subsidiary Comtek Advanced Structures won a contract to design and manufacture the floor panels for Bombardier’s in-development Global 7000 and 8000. The company said it will start design engineering work immediately. Comtek currently supplies floor panels to Bombardier for its CRJ700, CRJ900 and CRJ1000 regional jets; Q400 regional turboprop; and in-development Learjet 85.
The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
Flexjet is offering two limited-time offers–25 Challenger 300 upgrade hours and “60 for 50”–to spur fractional jet ownership sales in its Learjet and Challenger programs. Until December 31, new and existing Flexjet owners purchasing a one-sixteenth share in a Learjet 40XR, 45XR or 60XR will have the opportunity to upgrade 25 of their annual allocated hours, at their same Learjet hourly occupied rate, to a Challenger 300.