The Global 7000/8000 program is to become the crown jewel of the manufacturer’s business aircraft fleets. Bombardier has been taking an “all hands on deck” approach to getting the Global 7000, the first of the program, to market by the second half of 2018. Unveiled in 2010, the Global 7000 has suffered delays as Bombardier struggled to manage cash flow among several research and development programs in recent years. The 8000, meanwhile, is waiting in the wings while Bombardier works to get the Global 7000 to market.
“First flight is a major gate to continue building the program’s momentum, and will also trigger some much needed cash from deposits due from order holders,” said industry analyst Rolland Vincent.
But despite those cash flow issues Ouellette said there has been no compromise on the aircraft. With four distinct living spaces and a 54-foot, seven-inch-long cabin, the 7000 will be larger than any other Global (and any other purpose-built business jet, for that matter), something that Ouellette said makes it “segment defining.” It is also showing that it can meet the 7,400-nm range and a speed of Mach 0.925.
The $72.5 million jet has been a strong seller by all indications. Bombardier officials noted that the Global 7000/8000 program has contributed significantly to its backlog, which stood at $17 billion at midyear.
While Bombardier does not disclose orders, Vincent, who is president of Rolland Vincent Associates, estimates that Bombardier has accumulated orders for about two hundred Global 7000/8000s, the vast majority being for the Global 7000. “I am sure they are keeping theGlobal 8000 on their long-term radar, but the market has clearly spoken that cabin trumps range when we are out at these numbers,” he said, referring to the 8000’s shorter cabin but longer range. “The interior of the Global 7000 is pretty spectacular, and Bombardier has been demonstrating tremendous leadership in developing the cabins of the future. It has nicely leveraged its early-on experience with widebody Challengers to raise the bar in aircraft interiors.” He cautions, however, that competitors are “fast following.”
The Global 7000 customer base has held strong, even with the two-year delay in the program announced last year. Bombardier has continually kept customers informed about the progress of the program, shoring up their loyalty.
The program is “progressing well,” Ouellette said. All safety-of-flight testing that led up to the first flight had been accomplished by mid-October. He noted the company had been methodical, ensuring complete ground testing to make sure that when the aircraft entered flight test, it would be “less in discovery mode and more in validation mode.”
Bombardier moved FTV1, which is testing basic performance, into a dedicated hangar that focuses strictly on “everything we need to do from an experimental point of view,” Ouellette said, adding, “It’s a highly instrumented