Bombardier to deliver first SwiftBroadband-equipped Learjet this month

Washington DC
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Bombardier plans to deliver later this month the first Learjet 60 XR equipped with Aircell's SwiftBroadband inflight connectivity solution despite the collapse last month of launch customer Jet Republic.

Bombardier vice-president and general manager Learjet Business Aircraft David Coleal says was recently tested on board a Learjet 60 XR flight from Montreal to Wichita and has been demonstrated to several potential customers. He says the first SwiftBroadband-equipped aircraft, which is now sitting in the Learjet delivery centre in Wichita and also features a new executive club interior with an espresso machine, should be delivered by the end of September. But he declined to disclose the customer.

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European fractional ownership start-up Jet Republic was the original launch customer of the SwiftBroadband solution on the Learjet 60 XR. In 2008 Jet Republic ordered 110 of the aircraft for delivery from October 2009. But last month the company collapsed, forcing Bombardier to terminate the order and find new customers for the several Learjet 60 XRs which were already on the final assembly line in Wichita.

Bombardier is also now offering the new executive club floor plan, featuring larger tables plus an optional espresso machine, which was going to debut with Jet Republic's initial fleet. Coleal says this is the first time Bombardier has equipped a Learjet with an espresso machine and the SwiftBroadband solution is the first time any business jet in the Learjet 60 category has been outfitted with on board Internet. "We're really excited about bringing something new to the market place, especially during this time," Coleal says.

SwiftBroadband will work throughout the US with any WiFi-enabled device. Although Bombardier is now offering it on new Learjet 60 XRs, Coleal says there are no plans to offer a retrofit for existing aircraft.