Graham Warwick/LAS VEGAS
RIVALRY BETWEEN Bombardier and Gulfstream for the long-range business-jet market erupted into open warfare at the US National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) convention in Las Vegas on 26-28 September, with the companies trading claims in advertisements and briefings.
Gulfstream, provoked by unfavourable performance comparisons published by Bombardier and emboldened by the 22 September roll-out of the first GV, responded with an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, comparing the "reality" of the GV with the "concept" of the Global Express.
Bombardier countered by providing photographic evidence that the first Global Express is taking shape and announcing that it will guarantee the manufacturer's weight empty of 18,500kg - effectively guaranteeing a better range performance than that of the GV - and a reduced take-off balanced field-length of 1,500m (5,100ft) at the 41,300kg MTOW.
Gulfstream plans to fly the GV in November, and is aiming for US certification and first delivery of a customer aircraft to the completion centre in October 1996. Bombardier says that it is on schedule to fly the Global Express in September 1996, with first delivery of a customer aircraft to the completion centre in December 1997, ahead of simultaneous Canadian, European and US certification, scheduled for March 1998.
Bombardier is promising performance advantages in a bid to persuade customers to wait for its aircraft, while Gulfstream is trying to discredit the Canadian company's claims. Both aircraft are designed to provide 12,000km (6,500nm) range at Mach 0.80, but Bombardier is guaranteeing 11,700km range at M0.85, compared with the GV's 10,200km.
Gulfstream's Wall Street Journal advertisement pointed to unfulfilled range promises for the Canadair Challenger in a bid to discredit Global Express range estimates. Bombardier points out that the latest Challenger 604, certificated in September has exceeded its 7,400km range projection.
Gulfstream is believed to have around 60 orders for the GV, while Bombardier claims to have "significantly more than 40" orders for the Global Express. Gulfstream believes that it can capture GV orders before the Global Express is flown.