Barbedos Group is demanding that its Learjet 85 deposit be returned immediately, citing concerns over "the questionable value and quality of the Learjet 85 upon final completion".

Specifically, the Nigerian group is concerned that the quality of the jet might be affected by the demise of Grob Aerospace, which had been due to manufacture the jet's all-composite fuselage. Grob filed for insolvency in August 2008 and Bombardier moved structural manufacturing for the all-composite Learjet 85 to its factory in Queretaro, Mexico.

"Manufacturing it in Mexico may be just as good as anywhere else, but we know that the prices are cheaper, the cost to manufacture is cheaper," Stephen Coonan, Barbedos Group's agent in the US, told Flight Evening News. "The implication is that the quality is not going to be as good as [from] the high-priced technician from Europe." He adds: "It is a perception. It may be the same jet. But who wants to take an 18 million dollar risk?"

Stephen Coonan 

Bombardier Business Aircraft's senior vice-presidentsales Bob Horner says there is "no procedure in place to refund any deposits" as it is "not a necessary procedure". The Learjet 85 is "on track" for delivery in 2013, saysHorner. "The company is fully behind this product," he says.

Horner has offered Coonan the opportunity to meet with him and the Learjet programme's general manager and deputy. Coonan says he intends to take up the opportunity during EBACE, along with his client.

Bombardier Aerospace (stand7011) has meanwhile introduced extended range options for its Learjet 40XR and Global 5000 business jets, and upgraded its AOG support system in Europe, the company said.

A 496km (268nm) range extension is available on all new Learjet 40XR orders and on aircraft previously ordered and scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of the current fiscal year. The range extension is the result of a312kg (687lb) increase in fuel tank capacity.

Flying at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.75, the Learjet 40XR now offers a non-stop range of 3,685km, 15% longer than previously and bringing into range such city pairs as London-Cairo, Singapore-Taipei and Hong Kong-Jakarta.

Capable of seating up to seven passengers, the Learjet 40XR can reach 43,000ft (13,105m) in 23min.

Meanwhile, the first installation of a service bulletin extending the Global 5000's range by 740km (or 8%) has been completed at Bombardier's Fort Lauderdale Service Center in Florida. The service bulletin was issued on 21 April. At a typical cruise speed of Mach 0.85, the Global 5000 now has a range of 9,620km, enough to travel from São Paulo to Paris or from Dubai to Perth.

Development work continues on the new Global Vision flightdeck, which will be available for the Global 5000 and Global Express XRS. The cockpit, which incorporates Rockwell Collins' Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, completed its power-ontest in winter 2009 andis "on target" for its first flight, on a Global Express XRS, in summer 2009, says Bombardier.

The manufacturer has meanwhile launched an airborne parts delivery service, PartsExpress, and a new mobile response team (MRT) in a bid to provide "faster, more efficient" resolution of aircraft on groundsituations to Learjet, Challenger, and Global Jet operators in Europe.

PartsExpress, launched for US operators in 2007, seeks to minimise downtime by deploying a broad network of aircraft operators, eliminating delays because of thelack of aircraft availability.

Source: Flight Daily News