David Coleal, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft
Thanks for participating in our Q&A series, David. Bombardier has been a leader in business jets for quite some time. With the C Series moving to Airbus and the recent sale of the Q400 aircraft program on the commercial side, will there be an increased focus on, and increased capital for, the business aircraft division within Bombardier?
David: Bombardier is definitely re-affirming its commitment to its high-performing business aircraft division. Bombardier Business Aircraft is delivering strong performance quarter after quarter, steadily investing in its various platforms and growing its portfolio. This year and next are extremely exciting for Bombardier Business Aircraft, with customer deliveries beginning on the Global 7500 aircraft this year, and the newest members of the Global aircraft family, the Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft, on track to enter service in 2019. With our expanded Global family and our industry-leading Challenger and Learjet platforms, we expect Bombardier Business Aircraft to further increase its market share and its revenues.
The Global 7500 aircraft is now certified and offers nearly the range projected initially for the Global 8000 aircraft. With the largest and longest-range aircraft in its class, how do you expect the Global 7500 jet to stack up against its competition, and with the range improvement on the Global 7500 jet, is there still a need for the Global 8000 aircraft?
The Global 7500 aircraft sits in a class of its own at the top end of the market, as the most spacious and longest range business jet ever built. The aircraft’s recent certification confirms what we’ve been saying all along about its advanced design and ability to not only meet but exceed, industry standards. No aircraft comes close in terms of performance, innovation, spaciousness and a smooth ride.
So it’s not surprising that the Global 7500 aircraft is commanding so much attention – the two flight test vehicles at our static display at this year’s NBAA in Orlando caused a sensation, and our backlog continues to grow.
The Global 8000 aircraft continues to be part of Bombardier’s development program, but our attention right now is focused on the Global 7500 aircraft entering service this year.
Does Bombardier expect a competitive response to the Global 7500 aircraft?
The Global 7500 aircraft raises the bar and sets a new precedent that others will be forced to follow. Our flagship, clean-sheet Global 7500 aircraft is certified and will enter service this year as the largest and longest-range business jet ever built. It connects city pairings that have been out of reach till now and offers the only true four-zone configuration in the industry. Our smooth ride technology is the envy of the competition. And when it comes to cabin experience, this aircraft brings the comforts and amenities of home to the sky better than any other, with patented Nuage seating that will redefine the flight experience. And the Global 7500 aircraft’s fully-appointed kitchen can create gourmet meals far and above what is currently possible in the skies.
So will the competition respond? We set the bar very high, so there’s a long road ahead for our competition. We expect the Global 7500 aircraft to remain the leader.
The new Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft introduced at EBACE will provide strong competition near the top of the market, thanks in part to their impressive range. How do you see these aircraft stacking up against the Gulfstream 500/600 in the marketplace?
The Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft outclass the competition for several reasons. These aircraft will enter service next year as the undisputed range leaders in their segments, at 5,700 and 6,600 nautical miles, respectively. Their brand-new, purpose-built Rolls-Royce Pearl engines provide outstanding fuel efficiency and reliability. The wing on the aircraft has been optimized, providing an improved maximum speed of Mach 0.90 and delivering the evolution of Bombardier’s signature smooth ride. Both aircraft have the widest cabins in their class for the most space and comfort.
Inside the cabin, Bombardier’s leadership is on full display: the patented Nuage seat is a revolution in comfort, the first new seat architecture in business aviation in three decades. And the Nuage chaise, which goes from flat surface to a reclining lounge seat, is a first in business aviation.
Furthermore, the Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft feature the industry’s first and only true combined vision system (CVS), which seamlessly blends Synthetic Vision and Enhanced Vision to give pilots the most information in a single glance.
Customers who choose the Global 5500 and Global 6500 aircraft will get an aircraft that outclasses the competition for all the above reasons, plus the winning DNA that makes the Global platform so popular.
The Bombardier Challenger platform is facing new competition – from the Cessna Longitude and potentially Hemisphere, as well as Embraer‘s newly-introduced Praetor – but it has been holding its own in the marketplace. What plans does Bombardier have to refresh the mid-sized segment of its product line, and should we expect to see a new aircraft before 2026 in this category?
We are extremely confident in our Challenger platform, whose performance speaks for itself with more than 1,800 aircraft in service. Our Challenger 350 and Challenger 650 aircraft are best sellers in their class, so we are not surprised that the competition is making some moves. However, the Challenger platform is a success story for many reasons, from the fact that we delivered a winning platform right from the start, to its smooth ride, ramp appeal and true, full-fuel, 8-passenger range guarantees. And as we are constantly improving these aircraft, their future is stronger than ever.
Service and support are critical for business aviation customers. How is Bombardier innovating in that regard?
No one knows our aircraft better than we do, so no one can service them as well as we can.
Bombardier has been growing its support presence worldwide over the last few years, with more than 60 facilities across the world dedicated to customer service and support. We recently announced a new service center at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, growing our footprint in Florida and boosting our ability to support customers in one of the most important geographic areas of our global network. In 2017 alone, Bombardier introduced five new line maintenance stations, opened service facilities in Tianjin and Biggin Hill, and expanded its service center in Tucson.
We have a world-class Customer Response Center based in Montreal to address any customer needs 24/7, and a Mobile Response Team that is growing rapidly: in addition to our fleet of trucks, we have two dedicated aircraft – a Learjet 45, based in the U.S., and a Challenger 300 aircraft, based in Europe – to quickly deliver parts where they are needed.
Customer support is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our business because we want to ensure that our customers get the most out of our world-class aircraft.
Thank you for participating in our Q&A series.