Bombardier is expanding its capability to complete Global Express ultra-long-range business jets. The move is part of a drive by the company to keep all interior completions for its corporate aircraft in-house.

A Global Express completion hangar and paint shop are to be built at the Canadian manufacturer's Tucson, Arizona, facility. The $25 million expansion is to be finished by mid-1999.

Bombardier has just opened a $10.5 million expansion of the Tucson site, increasing its capacity to complete Challenger 604 business jets and adding the capability to service the Global Express. Tucson continues to be responsible for finishing all Learjet 31A and 60 business jets.

The expansion will enable 85% of Challengers sold to be completed at Tucson, according to Rick Zimmerman, regional vice-president, Bombardier Aviation Services. Capacity has been increased from the current level of 17 aircraft a year to "24-28" Challengers next year, he says.

A further three or four Challengers, for Bombardier's FlexJet fractional ownership programme, will be completed at the company's Wichita, Kansas, plant. The balance will be completed by Midcoast Aviation under an agreement with Bombardier, Zimmerman says.

Midcoast will replace K-C Aviation, which was acquired by Gulfstream in August to boost its completions capacity, as the major outside provider of Challenger completions.

The "phase two" expansion will enable Tucson to take on one-third of Global Express completions. The other two-thirds will be performed by the recently opened completion centre at Bombardier's Montreal headquarters, which is dedicated exclusively to the Global Express, Zimmerman says. Tucson is expected to complete 19 aircraft next year, he says.

Source: Flight International