Bombardier topples Gulfstream to take long-distance title
Range extension of 555km for Global 7000 means G650 no longer the business jet king
Bombardier is extending the range of its marquee business jet to 14,260km, unseating the Gulfstream G650 as the long-distance champ of the private-aircraft industry.
The 555km improvement for the Global 7000 means the plane will be able to whisk passengers from New York to Hong Kong, or Singapore to San Francisco, Bombardier said on Sunday. A flight-test programme with five aircraft has demonstrated the added reach, the company said, Bloomberg reported.
The extra range gives Bombardier bragging rights over the G650 on flying distance as well as size, both of which are crucial selling points for the well-heeled customers who buy the planes. Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare is counting on the Global 7000 to generate the lion’s share of his targeted $3.5 billion increase in annual sales of private jets by 2020 – a key component of his turnaround plan for the debt-laden company.
“There’s a significant, almost endless desire for more range, more luxury and more space among business-jet buyers,” said David Tyerman, an analyst at Cormark Securities.
“We saw that with the G650, and the Global 7000 takes it yet another step further. Every time a manufacturer comes out with a product that’s more capable, there seems to be a market that we didn’t know existed.” Flight testing now exceeds 1,800 hours for the Global 7000 and the plane has reached a top speed of Mach 0.995, just short of the sound barrier, Bombardier said.
The aircraft, with a sticker price of $72.8 million, is sold out through 2021, according to the company.
The Montreal-based manufacturer still has a long way to go as it tries to catch up to the coveted G650, which lists for $69.4m and has dominated the upper echelon of corporate jets since its debut five years ago. Gulfstream, a unit of Virginia’s General Dynamics, has delivered 300 of the planes.
Bombardier announced plans in November to hire about 1,000 people to work on the Global 7000 at its Montreal completion center. The company is still looking to fill about 500 of the jobs. The jet is assembled at Bombardier’s Downsview factory in Toronto.
Canada’s biggest aerospace company invested $1bn last year alone in developing and producing the Global 7000, with total cost of the project amounting to “a few billion dollars”, Mr Bellemare said in December.
Separately, the rail arm of Bombardier will bid on an upcoming New Jersey Transit rail car contract, two sources familiar with the matter said, as the Canadian plane and train maker seeks to boost its North American business after losing ground in the region to rivals, Reuters reported.
NJ Transit, the largest statewide public transportation system in the United States, has previously said it will order 113 multilevel passenger cars to modernise its ageing fleet, which has been criticised for overcrowding and delays. The agency is also considering an estimated 900 more railcars as options, according to the industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the tendering process is private.
Proposals are expected in June, according to the agency’s website. The deal is expected to range from around $500m into the billions of dollars, depending on how many, if any, options are exercised, one of the sources said.
Bombardier declined to comment. NJ Transit did not respond to a request for comment. Despite a healthy $34bn global backlog, Bombardier Transportation is under pressure to improve performance in North America following delays to orders in Ontario and recent losses to other rail makers in Canada and the United States.
The company, which lost a Montreal rail deal worth more than $794.03m to France’s Alstom, had to drop out of a 2017 competition held by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority that was later won by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Workers prepare a Bombardier advertising poster at Hongqiao International Airport ahead of the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai yesterday