MEBAA Convention News

Bombardier’s New Challenger 350 Makes MEBA Debut

 - December 9, 2014, 12:30 PM
HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Turki Al Saud, Arabasco chairman, left, signs an agreement authorizing the company as a service center for the Challenger 605. Eric Martel, president Bombardier Business Aircraft looks on.

Bombardier Business Aircraft is showcasing its new Challenger 350, which is making its MEBA debut here at the 2014 show, while also highlighting the company’s regional product support.

With some 100 jets in the region, the Montreal-based OEM enjoys about 25 percent of the ME’s business aircraft market, but has been particularly successful with its Challenger line, capturing 60 percent of the mid-size market, said Khadar Mattar, regional v-p sales for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. That line includes the Challenger 605, which is also here on static display, along with a representative of Bombardier’s large cabin, long-range line, a Global 6000.

“Every region has got its own requirements,” said Mattar, explaining the Challengers’ popularity. He noted that London, a popular destination from the Middle East, is within the Challenger 605’s range, while its cabin can accommodate the entourages that customers in the region often travel with. “Let’s not forget luggage,” he added. “Luggage is very important to the region, and as you know the 605 and Globals have big luggage spaces.”

Bombardier (Chalet A23) also underscored its regional product support here at the show by ratifying its recent designation of Arabasco in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as an authorized service facility (ASF) for Challenger 605 aircraft. Under the ASF agreement, Arabasco can provide a full range of maintenance services to Challenger 605 operators from its facility at the Private Aviation Terminal of King Abdul-Aziz International Airport.

The facility, authorized by the General Civil Aviation Authority, the U.S. FAA, Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands, has been providing maintenance on business aircraft for 32 years, and is staffed by more than 40 employees.

Bombardier president Eric Martel said the agreement “will provide our Challenger 605 aircraft customers across Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries with greater access to quality and first-class customer support in their own backyards. Arabasco has a solid knowledge of our Challenger aircraft, as well as over three decades of maintenance experience, and we are confident they will meet the needs of our customers in the region.”

Arabasco joins a network of more than 50 ASFs around the globe, supported by seven Bombardier-owned service centers in North America, Europe and Singapore.

HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Turki Al Saud, chairman of Arabasco, said, “This authorization firmly strengthens Arabasco’s position as the premier provider of aircraft maintenance services in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the several steps Arabasco has taken throughout its history in supporting business jet customers in the Kingdom.”

Mattar said the company’s ASF expansion is far from complete. “Bombardier is always looks at expanding our services in the region. We will keep looking as long as our fleet expands.” Addressing the impact of regional conflicts on that expansion, he said, “The market has doubled in the last ten years and the growth is still here, despite the disputes you have at the moment in the Middle East, so I expect the short term disputes would not affect the long term vision of growth.”