The industry’s fortunes have changed dramatically in the last three years, swinging wildly from the lowest of lows to almost unimaginable heights. For business aircraft makers, the current “cycle” likely will be remembered as one of the biggest roller-coaster rides in the industry’s history. Perhaps no company is more illustrative of the rapid turnaround than Dassault Falcon Jet.
Bombardier Global Express
Boeing’s plans to shut down its Connexion satellite Internet service after failure to turn a profit in six years of operation put a damper on what should have been only good news this month for Rockwell Collins. The avionics maker announced that a newly manufactured Bombardier Global Express XRS became the first customer airplane to enter service with eXchange Internet hardware, which uses the Connexion satellite link.
Canadian completions company Innotech Aviation (Booth No. 4631) has made new appointments and expanded operational hours in response to increased demand for its services.
Aerospace Concepts LLC of St. Laurent, Quebec, comes to NBAA 2006 to introduce new lightweight sound-proofing materials, along with its advanced interior design capabilities. The company has recently completed interior projects on its 55th wide-cabin business jet.
Aerion SSBJ–Aerion continues on track with development efforts for its supersonic business jet. High-speed testing on the Aerion supersonic natural-laminar-flow wing was expected to be carried out last month by using a rocket sled to achieve the necessary Mach 1.5 test speed.
Success of Falcon 7X Sales Encourages Dassault’s Expansion Plans at Little Rock
On April 18 Bombardier delivered the first completed Global 5000, a truncated, shorter-range version of the Global Express. The aircraft, certified last year, is now in service with an unidentified corporate operator based in the Middle East. At press time, Bombardier had delivered the first nine green Global 5000s.
Bombardier has received FAA, Transport Canada and European certification for the enhanced-vision system (EVS) developed for its Global line of business jets, making the Canadian company the second business jet builder to have gained such approval after Gulfstream did it in 2001.
While the business aviation industry remains healthy and forecasts predict continued growth, the established OEMs announced only incremental product upgrades at the NBAA Convention last month. In all, manufacturers unveiled six derivative business airplanes: the Airbus A318 Elite; Bombardier Challenger 605 and Learjet 60XR; Cessna Encore+; Dassault Falcon 2000DX; and Raytheon Hawker 850XP.
When Bombardier announced the Global XRS follow-on derivative of the Global Express, the Canadian manufacturer promised an airplane that represented added value to the customer and a more complete package than was offered as part of its predecessor.