With business jet travel in the Asia-Pacific recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, Bombardier has inaugurated a vast new service centre in Singapore.
The new centre at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park is, according to Bombardier, the largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business aviation facility in the Asia-Pacific region.
It quadruples the size of Bombardier’s previous service centre to 26,000sqm (290,000 sq ft). In addition to big increase in hangar space, it includes a paint facility, interior finishing capabilities, and support functions such as engineering, sales and customer support. It also includes a large warehouse of spare parts, which can be dispatched as needed around the region.
The centre is expected to support over 2,000 business jets annually. In addition to heavier maintenance work, the centre is also seen as supporting minor work on jets that are stopping over in Singapore for short periods. On the third level it includes a suite of private offices – with views down into the hangar - for client use.
Bombardier president and chief executive Eric Martel visited Singapore for the opening. He notes that business aviation in the region is resurgent following a long period Covid-19 restrictions, and adds that the company’s Challenger and Global series of aircraft have been popular in the region.
“We see a lot of airplanes going back to work right now,” says Martel. “Clearly in APAC the number of flight hours were very low for the last two years, but now we see it coming back. We’re better than we were last year. We’re not exactly back to where we were pre-Covid, but the gap is maybe less than ten percent now.”
This lags other key regions, where Martel says that business jet flight hours have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
Regarding the once booming China market, Martel says that growth has basically stalled since 2014. He estimates that there were about 400 large cabin private jets in China that year, but the number is probably more like 350 now owing to aircraft that have been put up for sale.
In past remarks to FlightGlobal, business jet executives have attributed weakness in China sales to the country’s changing political climate.
Nonetheless, the Asia-Pacific remains a key business jet market – as evidenced by Bombardier’s big investment in Singapore.
“With this major expansion, the Singapore Service Centre will provide infinite benefits, including quicker aircraft turnarounds, greater convenience and peace of mind to Bombardier’s growing customer base in Asia,” says Jean-Christophe Gallagher, executive vice president, Services and Support, and Corporate Strategy, Bombardier.
“Customers can also enjoy access to the complete range of OEM customer service and support at their doorstep. This is truly a special day for Bombardier and our growing aftermarket network.”