Early last month, while Bombardier’s Wichita and Canadian business jet production and assembly facilities remained closed during an unprecedented, four-month plant shutdown that started in late December, the aerospace unit revealed that 3,000 employees–10 percent of its worldwide employment force–will be laid off over the next 12 months.
Bombardier Challenger 300
The turbofan engine powering the Challenger 300, Honeywell’s 6,500-lb-thrust AS907, received certification by the JAA on December 3. The first production engines were scheduled for delivery to Bombardier by year-end for installation on a Challenger 300 (formerly the Continental) production aircraft.
Honeywell’s AS907 engine completed certification by Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities on December 3. The first production turbofans were to be delivered to Bombardier by year-end for installation on its new Challenger 300 (formerly the Continental), which is set to enter service early this year.
With the Raytheon Hawker Horizon and Bombardier Continental making their first flights within three days of each other in Wichita last month, development is virtually neck and neck for these two highly competitive super-midsize business jets.
Certification of the 3,100-nm super-midsize Challenger 300 was scheduled for the first quarter of this year, but Bombardier said last month that this approval would not happen until the second quarter. At press time, four flight-test Challenger 300s had logged more than 1,640 hours during 759 flights. The flight-test program is being conducted at Bombardier’s Wichita Flight Test Center.
Russell Turner, a former top executive for Boeing’s United Space Alliance business in Houston, is the new president of Honeywell Aerospace’s $4.7 billion Engines, Systems and Services division. He assumed his duties at Honeywell on June 1, taking over from interim president Mike Redenbaugh, who returns to his previous job at the Phoenix company’s propulsion systems business.
Bombardier Aerospace has received key approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA to provide complete training, service and maintenance for the Bombardier Challenger 300. Both the EASA and the FAA have awarded full Part 145 approval to Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS), located at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport.
A second Bombardier Continental super-midsize jet joined the flight-test program on October 9 with a 2 hr 41 min initial hop from Wichita. The twinjet reached an altitude of 35,000 ft and a speed of 250 kt, during which aircraft systems were evaluated. Test pilots Doug May and Ed Grabman conducted numerous tests on the aircraft’s bleed air, hydraulics, fuel and electrical systems, according to Bombardier.
Overall deliveries of Bombardier business jets in the six months ending July 31 declined slightly, to 99 aircraft from 101 in the same period last year, the company announced last month. However, it noted that backlogs for its business jets remain “strong” despite the credit crunch facing financial markets, while deliveries are poised to “accelerate” in the second half of the year.
Bombardier released here its first-ever forecast for the business aviation market segments in which it competes, and the Canadian company’s crystal ball is about as rosy as anyone else’s. As far as new products go, Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Pierre Beaudoin said only that “our first priority is the Learjet line.”