Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Bombardier has embarked on an expansion of its service centres to accommodate the Global Express long-range business jet, deliveries of which begin in the second half of 1998. The first Bombardier Aviation Services site to be upgraded is at Tucson, Arizona, where work has begun on a new hangar to be used for Global Express maintenance and Canadair Challenger completions.

The $10 million expansion of the Tucson centre, to be completed by the end of July, will be followed by a $7.5 million upgrade of the company's Ft Lauderdale, Florida, maintenance base to cope with the Global Express, says aviation-services general manager Jim Zeigler. A third North American site will be expanded to accommodate the Global Express, with Bombardier's Montreal, Canada, headquarters and its Hartford, Connecticut service centre still being evaluated as potential sites, he says.

Bombardier is also looking at sites outside North America. Its new Berlin joint venture with Lufthansa Technik is already large enough to accommodate the Global Express, says Zeigler. Independent service centres are also being examined. "The number one issue is capacity," he says, as the Global Express is a large aircraft. Regions of particular interest are the Pacific Rim and Latin America.

In addition to maintaining the Global Express, the expanded Tucson centre will handle more Challenger completions. Presently the site completes eight aircraft a year, but this will increase to 20 a year as Challenger work is moved from Montreal to make room for Global Express completions.

Learjet 31A and 60 completions are already performed at Tucson, which handles some 70 Learjets and Challengers a year.

Source: Flight International