Bombardier chief executive Eric Martel has largely ruled out the airframer developing a clean-sheet aircraft for at least the rest of the decade, saying competitive dynamics and technological advancements do not support such a move.

“What I see between now and 2030 will be… derivatives,” Martel said on 1 May during a meeting with investors at Toronto Pearson International airport. “I don’t see a clean sheet.”

His comments make clear Bombardier plans in the medium term to bank on continued demand for its current line up of business jets. Among those are ultra-long-range Globals – including the Global 8000, which Bombardier aims to have in service next year – large-cabin Challenger 650s and super-midsize Challenger 3500s.

It also now seems Bombardier’s EcoJet development programme – an effort involving study of a conceptual business jet with a blended-wing-body design – is unlikely to transition into an actual aircraft development this decade; Bombardier has always viewed EcoJet as a “post-2030s” concept, says Martel.


Source: Bombardier

Bombardier has test flown a scaled demonstrator of a blended-wing-body aircraft via its EcoJet programme

Martel insists technological advancements are at present insufficient to support development of a completely new jet.

“I don’t see any new technology game-changer coming in that will justify me talking to the board and justifying a clean sheet,” he says. “[We] need something that will really be a revolution.”

Those comments mirror statements in recent years made by Boeing chief executive David Calhoun, who has said he will not green-light a 737 replacement until confident the next aircraft will be 10-15% more fuel efficient.

Martel also sees no immediately competitive imperative for a new Bombardier business jet, saying other manufacturers have already “played their cards, in terms of what products they will be offering in the [coming] years”.

Indeed, Gulfstream just weeks ago achieved certification of its ultra-long-range G700. The Savannah-based company is also busy attempting to complete certification of the G700’s sister ship, the G800. French airframer Dassault Aviation, meanwhile, is developing its ultra-long-range Falcon 10X, an aircraft that has yet to fly.

While largely squashing the possibility of a new aircraft, Martel says Bombardier will continue bringing innovations to its current jets via updates and possible derivatives.