November 4, 2016 / 3:27 PM / in a year

Bombardier flagship business jet completes its first test flight

Visitors look at Global 7000 Bombardier aircraft replica during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) at Cointrin airport in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc’s (BBDb.TO) Global 7000 completed its first test flight over Toronto on Friday, the company said, a milestone for the long-range business jet considered critical to the growth of its corporate plane division.

The test aircraft took off from a Bombardier facility in Canada’s largest city on Friday morning and flew for about 2 hours and 27 minutes, the company said in a statement.

“The systems and aircraft performed as expected,” it said.

Because of previous delays, some investors and analysts had been skeptical that the first flight would take place in 2016, suggesting instead that it would fly in 2017. Bombardier had said the Global 7000 would fly in 2016.

Reuters reported last month that the Global 7000 was scheduled to make its first flight in November.

The new jet is scheduled to enter service during the second half of 2018 after being delayed for two years. Competitors in the long-range jet sector include the 650ER produced by General Dynamics Corp’s (GD.N) Gulfstream unit, and Dassault Aviation SA’s (AVMD.PA) flagship Falcon 8x.

Business jets have been crucial for Bombardier earnings in recent years. Its commercial aircraft business lost money as the company spent heavily to develop its CSeries jet, which entered service this summer after years of delays.

But because of a slowdown in global demand for corporate planes, Bombardier said in September that it would halt completion work for its Global 5000 and 6000 business jets during certain periods in 2017. {nL1N1BD0TV]

The furloughs at Bombardier’s global completions center in Montreal follow a decision in 2015 by the Canadian plane and train maker to cut production of Global 5000 and 6000 jets, citing weak demand from China, Latin America and Russia.

By contrast, the Global 7000 has a “strong order book,” Bombardier Chief Executive Alain Bellemare said in a recent interview, although he would not disclose specific sales figures. He said the jet is “critical” to the future growth of Bombardier’s business jet division.

According to Bombardier, the Global 7000 has a range capability of 13,705 kilometers (8516 miles) at Mach 0.85 with eight passengers. It can fly from London to Singapore or New York City to Dubai non-stop.

Bombardier shares were down 1.1 percent at C$1.80 in Toronto on Friday.

Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Phil Berlowitz and Meredith Mazzilli

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below