Graham Warwick

Bombardier has teamed with the UK's Marshall Aerospace to tackle the backlog of interior completions that is delaying deliveries of its Global Express long-range business jet. Three "green" Globals have already arrived at Cambridge-based Marshall and the first, delivered last December, is scheduled to be completed by year-end.

Despite investing heavily in its own completion facilities in Montreal, Canada, and Tucson, Arizona, Bombardier is producing Globals faster than it can complete them. So far, 54 of the big business jets have rolled off the assembly line in Toronto, but only 14 have entered service. The other 40 are still in completion.


Outfitting the big business jets has taken longer than planned, up to 54 weeks for the early aircraft. The main reason is the complexity of the interiors, with a typical completion costing $5 million. So far, no two cabins have been alike, "They've all been unique so far," says Russ Fairley, completions programme manager.

As more Globals are completed, more designs become available for reuse, and Bombardier hopes to reduce the cycle time to 35 weeks over the next 12 months, Fairley says. This compares with the 20 weeks it takes to complete the company's Challenger large business jet. Meanwhile, in a bid to reduce the backlog of undelivered aircraft, Marshall and The Jet Center in Van Nuys, California, have each been awarded contracts to complete four Globals over the next year. BFGoodrich Aerospace in Everett, Washington, will outfit a further five. Together, the agreements boost Bombardier's Global completion capacity to 46 aircraft a year.

Originally, Bombardier had hoped to acquire additional completion capacity by buying Dallas, Texas-based K-C Aviation, but was "gazumped" by rival Gulfstream in the final stages of negotiations, says Fairley. The idea of partnering with outside facilities, he says, followed the success of a similar agreement with Midcoast Aviation, which is outfitting Challengers.

Marshall was already a Global Express service centre, so teaming up on completions was a natural move, says chief executive Martin Broadhurst. The company's experience over the years includes installing head-of-state interiors in aircraft ranging from the Vickers Viscount to the BAe 146.


The company has established a dedicated hangar and engineering support for Global completions. Bombardier has transferred design data and provided training, and has staff on site. The customer still defines the interior and signs a contract with the manufacturer, but Marshall is responsible for engineering and production, working with UK cabin design and cabinetry specialist Trace Worldwide.

Marshall is the first independent centre able to perform Global Express aircraft and interior warranty work under one roof, says sales manager, corporate and executive aircraft, Ken Driver. The company became a Global service centre at the insistence of its existing Gulfstream customers, many of whom were moving to the Bombardier aircraft, he says.

Source: Flight Daily News