Bombardier adds a new aircraft to the Global family

Bombardier adds a new aircraft to the Global family. The Montreal-based business jet manufacturer unveiled the Global 8000 at the Geneva Business Aviation Show (EBACE) on Monday. A project that has been on the drawing board for many years.

Since the launch of the Global 7000 program in 2010 in Bombardier’s boxes, the Global 8000 is finally set to see the light of day, with commissioning scheduled for 2025. The aircraft has a range of 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 kilometers) and a speed of Mach 0.94 (1150 km/h). For comparison: The Global 7500, which has been in service since December 2018, offers a range of 7,700 nautical miles (14,260 kilometers) and a speed of Mach 0.925 (1,142 km/h).

This increase in reach allows Bombardier’s affluent customers to reach cities that were previously inaccessible by direct flight. “With just a few modifications to the aircraft, we had the opportunity to increase its speed and distance even further,” said Bombardier President and CEO Eric Martel in an interview.

With the Global 8000, Mr. Martel believes Bombardier will retain its “supremacy” in the business jet industry, citing the example of the aircraft’s speed and range. “We keep raising the bar for competition. »

Last May, the French company Dassault presented its Falcon 10x, which is scheduled to enter service in 2025. The Falcon 10x’s range must be 7500 nautical miles and was intended as an answer to the Global 7500. For its part, Gulfstream is unveiling its G800, which has a range of 8,000 miles. Commissioning is planned for 2023.

With Monday’s announcement, Bombardier, which has “raised” standards in business aviation with the Global 7500, continues to outperform its competitors, believes Professor Mehran Ebrahimi of the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). “It’s true, what they say isn’t just marketing,” says the director of the International Observatory of Aeronautics and Civil Aviation at UQAM. We haven’t had a civilian plane fly so fast and so high since Concorde. »

The Global 8000 stands out in several technical aspects, the expert notes. For Bombardier’s “premium” customers who are willing to pay the list price of US$78 million (approx. He cites the fact that the aircraft has a cabin altitude of 2,900 feet ( 884 meters) can be maintained, which increases the comfort of the aircraft.

Originally, it was envisioned that the Global 8000’s cabin would be smaller than that of the Global 7500, with three zones instead of four. The company has managed not to sacrifice space for performance. “That’s what our customers wanted,” says Mr. Martel. Doing it in three zones didn’t really work. she [les clients] needed a lot of space in the front of the cabin in order to have a larger crew on board on long journeys. »

For customers who already own a Global 7500, Bombardier offers the option of converting their aircraft into a Global 8000. This conversion is possible “in a few days”, specified Mr. Martel.

Selling an aircraft conversion service is another “innovation” in the industry, Ebrahimi points out. “We are not coming to cannibalize the current model. There are no customers who say: “I’m not buying, I’m waiting for the new one”. »

In an interview, Mr. Martel clarified that the launch of the Global 8000 was already included in the 2025 financial targets that the company unveiled last February.

As with the Global 7500, much of the aircraft will be built in Toronto, with finishing taking place at Bombardier’s Quebec facilities, in Dorval.

favorable context

The announcement comes in a favorable business environment for Bombardier, as wealthy people and top business leaders have abandoned commercial flights to turn to business jets during the pandemic. In the first three months of the year, Bombardier increased its order book by the equivalent of 1.3 billion US dollars to 13.5 billion US dollars.

Bombardier’s image has been tarnished by the financial failure of the CSeries, which was sold to Airbus in 2018, and the difficulties of the transport division, which was sold to Alstom in 2021. These setbacks have overshadowed the company’s achievements in business aviation,” regrets Mr. Ebrahimi. “In Quebec, we’re not as proud of what we’re capable of as we should be. What Bombardier has achieved is technologically enormous. »

In his opinion, the biggest challenge for Bombardier is not on the competitive side, but in justifying the reason for the existence of business jets in the context of the fight against climate change. “It’s not just Bombardier, it’s something global. Just the idea of ​​moving such a large device to move three or four people raises questions. Bombardier has done a lot to improve fuel efficiency, but it’s something they need to emphasize even more. »

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