Bombardier has announced a two-year delay for the entry into service of the Global 7000 business jet, blaming unspecified development “challenges”.

The first of the 7,300nm (13,520km)-range business jets will now be delivered in the second half of 2018 rather than in 2016 as originally scheduled.

Bombardier did not disclose a schedule revision for the even longer-range Global 8000, but that was originally scheduled in 2017.

The new aircraft family will feature the first “purpose-built, four-(cabin)-zone aircraft” in the business jet market, says Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare, speaking during a second quarter earnings teleconference with analysts. The Global 7000 also incorporates an advanced wing optimised for both long-range and short-field takeoff performance, he says. “These challenges have impacted the programme schedule,” Bellemare says, though adding, “I am confident in our performance of the aircraft and our ability to deliver to the revised schedule.”

The schedule delay comes three months after Bombardier announced plans to slash production of the Global 5000/6000 business jets to between 50-60 aircraft per year, down from a current rate of 80-85 aircraft per year.

Sales of Bombardier’s business jets were slow in the second quarter, Bellemare says, noting soft demand from China, Latin America and Russia. Although third quarter sales activity has been “good” so far, he says, the company still believes it made the right decision to proactively reduce production rates.

Earlier this year, Bombardier also announced the Learjet 85 development programme is now paused indefinitely.

The Global 7000, powered by GE Aviation Passport engines and featuring Rockwell Collins ProLine Fusion avionics, represents the company’s response to new rivals such as the Gulfstream G650 and the Dassault Falcon 5X/8X.

The first flight test aircraft of the Global 7000 is now in the final assembly stage, Bellemare says.