Ian Verchere

Bombardier Aerospace has found "two hot leads" for its new Global Express ultra-long-range business jet at this year's Paris air show, says business aircraft sales president John Lawson.

They come on the eve of the new twin-jet's formal acceptance by its first corporate customer, a leading international business jet operator.

"Paris is more often the place where we close deals with potential buyers because this is where we can demonstrate the scale of Bombardier's presence within the business jet market," says Lawson. "Therefore, it's always very gratifying when new business comes through the door.

"But selling a business jet takes time and is rarely an impulse purchase."

The Montreal-based company is producing aircraft at the rate of three a month. The current firm backlog for the aircraft is more than 80 and the first 18 aircraft have been delivered to completion centres in Canada and the USA.

Lawson says five European countries - Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Turkey - have so far awarded type approvals for the all-new Global Express since the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) granted full approval on 7 May, 1999. It is the first ultra-long-range business jet to receive JAA approval, says Lawson.

Twenty-nine countries belong to the JAA and Bombardier plans to get acceptance of the Global Express from all of them. "Approval was granted following one of the most stringent certification programmes in corporate aviation history," explains Lawson.

To demonstrate its range and comfort, Bombardier has undertaken a number of record-breaking flights on sectors around the world. These include New York-Tokyo which it completed in 13h 4min to beat the previous best time set by a Gulfstream V by 29min.

Another best was Mexico City-Madrid in 9h 43min, beating an earlier record of 11h 24min set by a Falcon 900EX from a high-altitude airport.

Earlier concerns that competitively-priced corporate variants of the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 could threaten specialist manufacturers have largely receded, says Lawson.

"The more discreet dimensions of a Global Express are much more acceptable as legitimate business tools for high-level corporate and government officials," he says.

Source: Flight Daily News