As part of a major consolidation project that it says will save $25 million a year, Bombardier has embarked on an 18-month project to consolidate all Learjet production, completions and deliveries in Wichita, and all such Challenger work in Montreal.
Bombardier at NBAA’07 released its first-ever forecast for the business aviation market segments in which it competes, and the Canadian company’s crystal ball was about as rosy as anyone else’s. However, the manufacturer warned that there are downsides to an up market. “With a yearly retirement rate of 0.5 to 1 percent of the fleet and deliveries as anticipated, the business jet fleet should grow to approximately 20,600 aircraft in 10 years.
On the heels of posting a net loss of $418.6 million in the last fiscal year, due primarily to the stalled market for business jets and regional airliners, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based Bombardier announced a major recapitalization program last month.
Within 10 days of the issuance of an emergency AD in late March requiring the replacement of horizontal stabilizer components in Learjet 45s, Bombardier said it had inspected the fleet of more than 230 aircraft worldwide and, at its own expense, retrofitted new actuator assemblies on the approximately 105 aircraft affected.
Marking the first anniversary of the launch of its Hong Kong-based business aircraft charter network last month, Bombardier Flexjet Asia-Pacific believes it is the first in a market expected to skyrocket. “We think we have a winning program here,” said Flexjet Asia-Pacific general manager Gregory Kalinin.
Bombardier Aerospace promoted Michael McQuay to president of its Flexjet fractional operation headquartered in Dallas. McQuay, who joined Bombardier in 2001 as v-p and general manager of Flexjet North America, will be responsible for both Flexjet and the Skyjet North America online charter booking operation.
As we embark on the final and historically most active quarter of the year, buyer activity by most accounts seems to be building steam. While the worldwide inventory of jets is holding relatively steady right now, in May it dipped to 1,810 aircraft, a level not experienced since July 2001.
Bombardier Flexjet Europe has added a new intercontinental option to its Jet Membership block-charter program. The new service, which was launched on May 7 at Berlin’s ILA 2002 airshow, will allow its members to book flights from Europe to North America, the Middle East and Africa.
During a recent press conference to report quarterly results, Bombardier Aerospace president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin dismissed as untrue persistent industry speculation that the Learjet line is on the block or that Learjet assembly work and the role of the Wichita flight-test center would be moved from Wichita to Montreal. The Tucson facility will become a dedicated service center for Bombardier’s business and regional jets.
When Bombardier this month vacates its recently closed Learjet and Challenger maintenance facility at Indianapolis International Airport, Keeker Aircraft Interiors plans to reopen the facility under the name Indianapolis Jet Center. “We will offer the same services, in the same hangar, with the same technicians, to the same customers,” said Keeker Aircraft Interiors president Randy Keeker.