Bombardier expects its business jet shipments to fall by a quarter in 2016, to 150 aircraft, as the squeeze on large-cabin, long-range aircraft sales shows no signs of abating.
In 2015 the Canadian airframer delivered 199 business jets – 73 top-end Global 5000/6000s, one Challenger 850 VIP airliner, 25 large-cabin Challenger 605/650s, 68 super-midsize Challenger 300/350s, and 32 Learjet 70/75 light twinjets.
This was down slightly on the previous year’s 204 shipment tally, comprising 80 Globals, 36 Challenger 605s, 54 Challenger 300/350s, 33 Learjet 70/75s and a Learjet 60XR.
Production of the Challenger 850 – a corporate variant of the CRJ200 regional airliner – and the midsize 60XR ceased in December, following poor demand for both types.
In the 12 months ending 31 December, business aircraft revenues totalled just under $7 billion, down from $7.2 billion in 2014, Bombardier reveals.
Speaking during the company’s 2015 annual earnings call on 17 February, president and chief executive Alain Bellemare said last year marked the “de-risking” of major development programmes. This involved slashing Global 5000 and 6000 production to align with market demand and cancelling the Learjet 85 programme due to the prolonged weakness in the midsize segment.
In contrast, 2016 “will be a time of transition from de-risking to rebuilding our business and positioning ourselves for margin expansion,” says Bellemare.
This strategy involves expediting entry-into-service of the ultra-long-range Global 7000 and 8000 – which Bombardier says are “well positioned to capture a significant share of the large aircraft category” – and replacing third-party aircraft sales representatives and distributors with a direct-to-market sales approach.
“Our focus is to strengthen our order backlog by taking action to capitalise on growing market opportunities around the world,” it says.