Bombardier is confident that the market for new business jets is improving, with a number of key metrics now pointing in the right direction.
Speaking on a 3 May first-quarter earnings call, chief executive Alain Bellemare said the company is continuing to see strong sales activity, “building on the positive momentum from last year”.
He says the business jet market is showing “increasing signs of improvement”, thanks largely to the shrinking fleet of used aircraft for sale and an increase in flying activity.
“Pre-owned inventories are at their lowest level in over a decade. Residual values are up across almost every market segment, and aircraft utilisation levels and market sentiment are trending positive,” says Bellemare.
He calls the “tighter” pre-owned market "a promising signal for new aircraft demand and pricing stability”.
Bombardier ended the quarter ended 31 March with a business jet backlog valued at $14.3 billion – $100 million higher than a year ago – including fresh orders for the Global 7000, which Bellemare says is generating “excitement and greater interest” ahead of its service entry later this year.
Bombardier will deliver “a couple” of examples of the 7,700nm (14,200km)-range aircraft in 2018, Bellemare says, and around 20 next year, before ramping up to full production of about 40 units per year in 2021.
The airframer's business jet division recorded a 9% hike revenues in the first quarter of 2018, thanks to an increase in output and a favourable aircraft mix.
For the three months ended 31 March, the Canadian airframer posted revenues of $1.1 billion, compared with just over $1 billion during the same period last year. Deliveries climbed by two units to 31, comprising three light-cabin Learjet 70/75s, 12 super-midsize Challenger 350s, six large-cabin Challenger 605s, and 10 super-large/long-range Global 5000/6000s.
This performance compares with five Learjets, nine Challenger 350s, six Challenger 650s, and eight Globals shipped during the first three months of 2017, along with a VIP version of the CRJ regional jet.