Bombardier is expected to announce more sales today for its Global Express, which will fly into the show to join the company's line-up of business jets in the static display.

Michael Graff, president of Bombardier's business aircraft division, says the new sales will be to Middle East customers, as will new order announcements for the Canadair Challenger 604.

"We are seeing great success in this region," says Graff. "Both the Global and the Challenger are doing incredibly well. In all modesty, I can say that we are outselling the GV quite substantially in the region."

The Gulfstream V is the arch rival to the Global Express in the ultra long-range class.

"The Global is perfect for this market," adds Graff. "If you want to go to Europe, you can get there faster than anything else. We can get you from here to Chicago non-stop."

He claims that when the company does lose sales to the GV, it is only because a customer needs the aircraft earlier than Bombardier can deliver, but most customers, he says, are prepared to wait.

First deliveries of the Global Express begin next year.

John Holding, Bombardier Aerospace's executive vice-president of engineering and product development, says the company is "-right where we want to be" on the aircraft's flight-test programme, with certification anticipated by May 1998.

Four aircraft are now in the programme, with function and reliability testing, the final stage before certification, due to begin early next year

Initial specifications are being taken for the first 24 production aircraft.

"We are seeing people let their imaginations run to whatever they need," says Graff.

"If you can afford this aircraft then you should be able to get what you want."

Graff says the Learjets (a Learjet 60 is also at the show) are benefiting from a new marketing focus that Bombardier has initiated in the Middle East in which the

aircraft are being presented as part of the Bombardier family of business jets.

While Graff is highly optimistic for continued sales success in the Middle East, he is doubtful about the prospects for fractional ownership here.

"The chief benefit of fractional ownership is having the aircraft available on demand, and the distances here are too great.

"For the level of service that we would want to provide so we could offer a 6h response time, it would mean you would need a lot of aircraft and it would become a very expensive operation."

Source: Flight Daily News