Bombardier has adopted a new strategy that includes no near-term replacement for the Challenger large business jet despite increasing competition.
Guy Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, affirmed to investors and analysts on 21 March that the company has no plans to increase investment in new property and plants through 2015, indicating the lack of any new development programmes on the horizon.
The Challenger 605, meanwhile, is likely to face all-new aircraft as Gulfstream is expected to launch a replacement for the G350 and Dassualt readies a new programme to replace the 2000LX. All three represent the only purpose-built business jets in the large-cabin segment of the market.
If the Challenger has to compete with new aircraft, Hachey says, "we are willing live with that".
He adds: "A new airplane is going to be hard to compete with, but there are things you can do."
Hachet cited the example of the Challenger's sister Learjet 70/75 programme. Bombardier launched that programme secretly in 2011 to update the Learjet 40/45 with more powerful Honeywell engines and the Garmin G5000 avionics suite.
A market forecast released last month by Montreal-based Zenith Jet anticipated Hachey's strategy. It suggested Bombardier would likely look at re-engining the Challenger 605 with the General Electric NG34.
Bombardier is tightening up its investments in new projects after a five-year burst of development activity, including the launch of the CSeries narrowbodies, Global 7000/8000 ultra-long-range jets and all-composite Learjet 85.
Both the CSeries and the Learjet 85 have required more investment than Bombardier expected. Last month, Bombardier delayed entry intro service for the Learjet 85 by about six months.
The delay was caused by Bombardier's inexperience with repetitively producing an all-composite fuselage, a task made even more complex by needing to cure the materials in the thin air of the Learjet 85 factory located on Mexico's high Mesa.
"It took us longer than we anticipated. It was painful," Hachey says. "We're doing it now. We've fixed it."