Bombardier has completed final assembly of the first Continental super mid-size business jet at the company's Learjet plant in Wichita, Kansas. The milestone comes four months ahead of the aircraft's first flight in April, leading to certification in 2002 and first "green" deliveries by the fourth quarter of that year.


The $14.25 million Continental is set to enter the market ahead of Raytheon's rival Hawker Horizon. The $15.8 million super mid-size aircraft was launched a year earlier than the Continental but is not due to enter service until 2003. Raytheon has now completed mating of the Horizon's wing and fuselage in preparation for the aircraft's first flight later this year. Installation of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308A turbofans is imminent.


Raytheon's original plan called for approval in the second quarter of 2001, but the company admits its manpower has been concentrated on obtaining the long-awaited certification of its Premier I entry-level business jet, now scheduled for this quarter.

Bombardier has chalked up over 100 orders for the eight passenger Continental, while Raytheon has received around 150 orders and options for the Horizon.

Source: Flight International