Bombardier (Chalet 5119) is arriving at LABACE with momentum from this spring’s surprise unveilings of its new Global 5500 and 6500 ultra-long-range models, and the market interest has already surpassed early expectations.
“This is a special year for us,” said Stephane Leroy, vice president of sales, Americas, pointing to the introduction of the new aircraft and adding his recent travels to Brazil and Mexico provided further affirmation of the latest Globals: “There's a lot of interested in the new products—actually a lot more than I anticipated.”
Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal took the wraps off the new models during the EBACE in May, saying the 5500 and 6500 present the “longest range, the clearest vision, the largest cabin, the sharpest entertainment, and the smoothest ride” in their class, combining improved performance with the Global DNA. The program is in flight test with both a 5500 and 6500 now flying. The new models are scheduled to reach market next year.
Powered by the Pearl 15—the first of a new Rolls-Royce engine family—the latest additions to the Global family bring numerous enhancements; from the improved speed to Mach 0.90, up to a 13 percent improvement in fuel burn, additional and upgraded safety features in the flight deck, and a new interior that features the Nuage seats and chaise.
But important to the Latin American market, said Leroy, are the improvements in the areas of range. The Global 5500 will fly 5,700 nm (500 nm more than the 5000), and the Global 6500 to 6,600 nm (600 nm more than the 6000). Also of particular note, particularly for operators in Mexico, are the improved hot and high capabilities, which enable the newest members of the Global family to fly 1,300 nm farther from Toluca, than their predecessors. This improvement is made possible by the Pearl 15’s increased thrust, which allows for shorter takeoffs with greater fuel loads.
Flying out of Toluca to more distant destinations had been problematic, but with the new aircraft, it is “not challenging anymore,” Leroy said, adding the additional capabilities “change people's lives…you can connect directly with Europe.” With the enhancements, the 6500 can connect Toluca and Madrid. He further noted that this is new sparking interest in the aircraft.
In addition, the new models open up a number of new city pairs—such as São Paolo to Paris, making it appealing to the Brazilian market. “Brazil…has a big appetite for long-range aircraft,” Leroy said, particularly for the ability to connect to Europe.
While the new models are creating a buzz in the market, Leroy said he believes Bombardier is well positioned in the long-range niche with the ability to offer five models, from the original 5000 and 6000 to the flagship 7500 set to reach market later this year.
He stressed that the 5000 and 6000 are still attracting solid interest, particularly with the new Premier cabin features that are now standard on both models. Bombardier is showcasing the cabin, which is making its LABACE debut this year.
The Premier design folds a new “a highly sophisticated and meticulously thought out cabin interior” designed for comfort, the latest inflight technology, and an upscale feel, Bombardier said. At the same time, the cabin is designed to highlight a smooth ride and facilitate a good working environment.
Some of the features include Ka-band connectivity, advanced in the cabin management system with a large media bay, and a contemporary design to accentuate the size of the interior. Hardwood flooring is available for the Global 6000 galley; stone flooring is available for lavs. The seats were redesigned with improved ergonomics, down to detailing the armrests and the shape and height of the backrests. The stitching was inspired by high-end automobile designs. The upholstery is configured to better contour to the passenger and have a soft, comfortable feel.
The interior also incorporates flat side ledges with a redesigned cupholders that are hidden in a recessed tray. The galley provides improved access to crystal storage and is streamlined with a clean, “crisp” appearance and layout to optimize workspace.
The fifth member of the Global family, the top-of-the-line and recently renamed Global 7500 (from the original 7000 designation), meanwhile remains in the certification program as Bombardier progresses toward market entry this year.
Bombardier has had five 7500s flying and this month announced that with more than 2,400 hours logged, flight testing is now complete. Twenty of the 7,700-nm model are in some stage of production.
Leroy was enthusiastic about highlighting the portfolio at LABACE, stressing the significance of the show. “LABACE is a very important event. It is the biggest show in the region by far, attracting people across Latin America.” And while he acknowledges that the elections that just occurred in Mexico and upcoming in Brazil—the countries representing the two largest business aircraft markets in the Latin American region—have made some potential buyers cautious, “The appetite is here. There is clearly a lot of good interest.”