Bombardier is gearing up to expand its product portfolio in Latin America with its newest Globals and a newly unveiled Learjet 75 variant.
The Canadian manufacturer remains on track for certification of its Global 5500 and 6500 later this year, while it ramps up production on the Global 7500, which was certified last fall. By this summer flight testing of the 5500/6500 was 90 percent complete, the first 6500 had already been inducted into completions, and the models remained on track for entry-into-service by year-end, the company reported.
The Global 5500/6500 family was introduced with much fanfare during the May 2018 EBACE in Geneva. Powered by the first of a new Rolls-Royce engine family, the new aircraft will offer a speed of up to Mach 0.90, a fuel-burn improvement of up to 13 percent, additional and upgraded safety features in the flight deck, and a new interior that features Bomardier's Nuage seats and chaise.
Importantly to the Latin America market, though, is the improved hot-and-high capabilities that enable the Global 5500 and 6500 to fly up to 1,300 nm farther from Toluca, Mexico, than their predecessors. As for 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).
These improvements enable the Global 5500 to connect São Paulo, Brazil with London, Paris, Rome, Aspen (Colorado), and Nairobi, among others. As for the 6500, it can connect São Paulo to Seattle, Moscow, Stockholm, Cairo, and Athens, among others.
The additional capabilities have proven a draw, attracting interest not only in Latin America but also globally, a spokesman said. Bombardier has publicly revealed a few of those orders, including for four 6500s destined for Asian operator HK Bellawings and another for a 5500 bound for the U.S. West Coast.
Meanwhile, Bombardier is continuing to increase deliveries of the Global 7500 with plans to hand over between 15 and 20 of the model this year. Bombardier delivered the first 7500 in December after last fall’s certification.
The different markets within Latin America “have shown great interest” in the flagship model, with its ability to operate out of some challenging airports in the region, the spokesman added.
The Latin American market is a key market throughout the Bombardier line, the spokesman said, noting the company is bringing a demonstrator Challenger 350 to locations in the region later this year. The company further is highlighting its new Learjet 75 Liberty model, with its lower $9.9 million price tag. Unveiled last month, the Liberty eliminates two seats and replaces them with two fold-down ottomans and foldout tables to offer an “executive suite” cabin.
Bombardier, which has shipped 180 aircraft into the Latin American market over the past 10 years, is optimistic that deliveries in the region are going to be steady as Latin American economies improve.
Noting Latin America is the third-largest market for business aviation, Bombardier is forecasting that the region will take delivery of 675 business aircraft valued at $23 billion industry-wide over the next 10 years, up 100 from the 575 delivered in the previous 10 years. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela account for 75 percent of the regional fleet in Latin America.
As its fleet grows in Latin America, Bombardier is increasing its service capabilities there. This includes the addition of a new $100 million, 300,000-sq-ft service center at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. The company broke ground on the center last fall and anticipates it will be operational in 2020. To house up to 300 employees, the center will provide a range of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, modifications, avionics installations, and aircraft on ground support for Bombardier’s Learjet, Challenger, and Global business jet lines, as well as providing paint capabilities. The center will double the company’s footprint in Florida as it extends its reach in Latin America as well as in the U.S.
Also in Florida, Bombardier’s Fort Lauderdale service center provides a wide range of services for the full Bombardier business jet portfolio. That center already has a strong presence in Latin America with certifications from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Brazil, Cayman Islands, and Mexico, in addition to Canada, EASA, the FAA, and South Africa.
Bombardier further services its Latin American customers from service centers in Texas, Kansas, and Arizona, and additionally has four authorized service centers in Latin America as well as field support representatives throughout the region.