While Bombardier remains on track to certify and deliver the first Global 7000s later this year, recent comments from company executives portray a clouded future for its truncated, longer-legged sibling—the Global 8000. Compounding this uncertainty is a still-undefined certification schedule, an apparent paucity of orders, and, according to industry analyst Rollie Vincent, “unclear” market requirements.
During an investor day late last month, Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal said the Global 8000 accounts for “a very, very small percentage of our backlog,” implying that demand is lukewarm for a variant that trades nearly eight feet of cabin space for an extra 600 nm of range, to 7,900 nm. He avoided any kind of concrete schedule for the new jet, saying the Canadian aircraft manufacturer will “determine the right schedule for the 8000…probably sometime after” the Global 7000 enters service.
Coleal also touched on the fact that the models might not have enough differentiation in the marketplace. “We're also going to look very closely at the performance of the 7000 in determination with the 8000 and understand the differences between the two.” Recent remarks by Bombardier president and CEO Alain Bellemare that there has been an “overinvestment in aerospace" over the past few years cast doubt on whether the company would even invest more to differentiate the Global 8000 from the 7000.
“My thought is that the Global 8000 is no longer on their radar, per se,” said Vincent, the managing director at JetNet iQ. “I believe that they will consider a variant of the Global 7000 that will offer additional range at a higher gross weight. Whether they ultimately call it the 8000 is up to them. Furthermore, the timeline for any such development is unclear. The market requirement is unclear; Bombardier has been marketing this concept since 2010 and yet few orders have been taken.”
He also questioned trading cabin space for range in an ultra-long-range jet. “One of the challenges has been to ensure an adequate crew rest area in the shortened fuselage of the 8000—this has undoubtedly worked against the design,” Vincent told AIN. “This is vital and valuable ‘corner office’ real estate.”
Still, a Bombardier Business Aircraft spokesman said the Global 8000 program is moving forward. “For the 8000, simply put, we don’t communicate a target entry-into-service date at the moment, which will be determined later,” he said. “Because a lot of work required for the Global 8000 is already happening on the Global 7000 from a development perspective [given the 8000 is a derivative of the same family], it’s better for us to ensure all hands on deck to enter Global 7000 in service because of the stronger backlog, then shift resources to the 8000.”
He further explained Coleal’s comment about Global 8000 backlog. “It is really related to near-term deliveries and our operational plan, meaning we do have more flexibility operationally speaking with regards to the 8000 versus the 7000, which was always billed as entry-into-service first,” the spokesman said.