Bom­bardier top­ples Gulf­stream to take long-dis­tance ti­tle

Range ex­ten­sion of 555km for Global 7000 means G650 no longer the busi­ness jet king

The National - News - - BUSINESS LIFE -

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.

AP

Work­ers pre­pare a Bom­bardier ad­ver­tis­ing poster at Hongqiao In­ter­na­tional Air­port ahead of the Asian Busi­ness Avi­a­tion Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai yes­ter­day

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