Bombardier Aerospace returns to MEBAA in 2018 after two eventful years of platform introductions, project milestones, and product line divestitures, capped by the imminent entry into service of its new flagship, the Global 7500. Several of the advances are showcased at Al Maktoum International Airport, where the Canadian airframer (Chalet A6; Static P7) is presenting a full-scale cabin mockup of the Global 7500, complemented by a Global 5000 and Challenger 650 on static display.
The Global 7500, claiming the title of the world’s largest purpose-built business jet, is the rebranded Global 7000, renamed earlier this year to reflect the increase in range demonstrated during certification, now pegged at 7,700 nm, a 400-nm boost from prior projections. That added range is welcome in the Middle East, permitting, for example, nonstop flights from the region “even to the West Coast of the United States,” said Khadar Mattar, Bombardier’s v-p of sales, MEA, Asia Pacific & China.
Highlighting the only true four-zone cabin in class, according to Bombardier, the mockup of the Global 7500 includes a dining area, entertainment lounge, and in the aft cabin, master suite and en suite bath. The kitchen, with ample storage room for dinnerware and glassware, is equipped with high-end appliances enabling onboard preparation of gourmet meals.
Earlier this year, Bombardier introduced, exclusively for the Global 7500, its patented Nuage seat, designed for maximum comfort on globe-girdling flights.
“You can sit in it for long periods of time with no back problems because it hugs the body,” said Mattar. “It’s designed to move to fit your body as [the seat] changes positions.”
Also exclusive to the $73 million jet is the “nice” Touch cabin management system developed in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik, which includes controls that seem to disappear into side ledges. The flagships’ interiors are highly customizable and can be configured to reflect the customer’s personal tastes, Bombardier said.
In conjunction with the 7500 rebranding, Bombardier also introduced earlier this year two new members of its ultra-long-range Global family: the Global 5500 and 6500—upgraded versions of the in-production Global 5000/6000—slated for service entry in the first half of 2019.
Bombardier announced plans to build a longer-range but smaller Global 8000 follow-on when it introduced the Global 7000 in 2010, but the company has consistently declined to provide updates on the 8000’s future.
But Bombardier isn’t neglecting its legacy Globals. Last year the company introduced the Premier cabin option for the 5000/6000 (also available as a retrofit) for the jets, and on the eve of the show, company representatives were working to ensure the Global scheduled to be on static in Dubai sports the updated interior. Borrowing elements developed for the 7500, the cabin boasts improvements such as new ergonomic seating, stylish hand-stitched leather, and functional enhancements such as recessed cup holders and discreet cabin comfort controls on the divan.
Together, these new products “have positioned Bombardier on a different level in terms of the product portfolio and offerings,” said Mattar, suggesting that the expanded line-up “will suit the Middle East even more than other markets” thanks to their range, comfort, and interiors. Mattar also noted Bombardier has been bolstering its service and support network, citing this year’s expansion of its Biggin Hill Service Centre in the UK, the continued growth of its Singapore Service Centre, and the high inventory of spare parts it maintains in the Middle East.
The Challenger 650 on display, with 4,000 nm of range, also has the legs to serve Middle East customers, according to the Bombardier, as does its 3,200 nm-range sibling, the Challenger 350.
The Montreal company also makes Learjets, currently producing the Learjet 70/75.
“We are committed to the Middle East for the long term,” said Mattar. “We are committed not only in terms of products but also services, to meet the demand we expect in the region.”
The company’s Q3 results released last month show reason for confidence, with increased orders for new Globals bringing the backlog for business jets to $14.3 billion as of the end of September, up $600 million from a year ago. The total of 31 business jets delivered in the third quarter (four Learjet 70/75s, 20 Challengers—fourteen 350s and six 650s, and seven Global 5000/6000s), is one above the previous year’s Q3 figures, as are the 96 deliveries year to date.
Meanwhile, the Canadian airframer in October 2017 transferred ownership of its C-Series single-aisle airliners to Airbus (no payment required); last month sold its Dash 8-Q400 regional turboprop line to Canada’s Viking Air ($300 million); and sold its flight training division to Canada’s CAE ($800 million).
Bombardier plans to “redeploy engineering team members” from these programs, with “the largest group moving to business aircraft, to ensure they have the necessary capabilities for future business and jet development programs,” said Matthew Nicholls, senior advisor, communications and public affairs. He characterized the sale of the business to CAE as “renewing and expanding its current agreement with long-time authorized training partner CAE.”