Category Archives: Bombardier Learjet

EBACE 2014 showing strong, say organizers

Europe’s largest business jet show, which wrapped up Thursday, ranks among its strongest to date, organizers say.

The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition is held each year in Geneva, Switzerland.

Attendance was up more than 7 percent over last year’s show, show organizers say.

The number of exhibitors this year increased 8 percent over last year and booth spaces grew by 4 percent.

That gave this year’s show its largest footprint of its 14 years.

EBACE also was an effective news-making venue, they said, with several manufacturers announcing new aircraft models.

Wichita planemakers Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft, along with Bombardier Learjet exhibited at EBACE.

The show ran Tuesday through Thursday this week.

“Flight through Fire” chronicles Bombardier test pilot’s final days, devotion to aviation

Bombardier experimental test pilot Eric Fiore lived 36 days after being pulled from a burning Challenger 604, which crashed during takeoff in Wichita in 2000.

Test pilot Bryan Irelan, 36, and flight test engineer David Riggs, 48, died in the crash at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Fiore’s wife, Carol Fiore, has now completed a book, “Flight Through Fire,” an “unforgettable love story centered on a deep devotion to aviation,” according to a release.

Eric Fiore was a former Air Force fighter pilot and instructor who joined Bombardier in 1999 after stints with Cessna Aircraft and Fairchild Aircraft.

The  book is the story of Eric’s final days, as he lost the battle with his burns in the Via Christi Regional Burn Center.

It’s also a big step in a promise Carol Fiore made to her husband: To tell people about a little boy who wanted to fly “high and fast in the sky,” Fiore said in a trip to Wichita in 2010.

The book describes the “aftermath of the accident, the response of a billion dollar company and an entire Kansas town, the intense pressure placed on a hospital, the tragic realities of severe facial burns, the evolution of an eating disorder in her teenage daughter, and the raw emotional pain of her nonreligious family,” the release said.

It’s a story of what it takes to be a test pilot and what it costs to love one.

The book has been published by Flying Kea Press and is available through Amazon.com.

 

 

Bombardier closes sale of Flexjet

Bombardier has closed the sale of its fractional ownership business, Flexjet, to a newly-created company called by the same name, the company announced.

The new company is funded by a group led by Directional Aviation Capital, the company said Thursday.

Bombardier announced the transaction in September for $185 million.

But with purchase price adjustments, the price is now estimated at $195 million, including the assumption of an estimated $70 million of customer advances by the buyer, Bombardier said.

The transaction has received government and regulatory approval.

With the closing, Flexjet’s firm order for 115 Bombardier business aircraft valued at about $2.4 billion, is now confirmed, the company said.

The order includes 25 Learjet 75s, 60 Learjet 85s, 20 Challenger 350s and 10 Challenger 605 jets. It also includes options for another 150 planes.

If all the options are exercised, the order will have a total value of about $5.6 billion, based on 2013 prices.

The actual impact to Bombardier’s bottom line will likely be lower, however. Companies typically give deep discounts off list prices for large orders.

Directional Aviation is an Ohio-based investment firm that already owns fractional ownership company Flight Options, along with multiple other private business aviation companies.

Flexjet, based in Richardson, Texas, is one of North America’s largest fractional ownership companies. NetJets, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is the largest.

The agreement to sell Flexjet will allow Bombardier to focus on its core manufacturing operations, the company and analysts have noted.

Bombardier formed the Flexjet division in 1995 to support the expansion of business jet travel and for market penetration of its Learjet and Challenger business jet products, analysts have said.

Flexjet operates Bombardier aircraft exclusively and has been Bombardier’s biggest customer. It has taken delivery of more than 225 Bombardier business jets since the company began 18 years ago.

With Flexjet, customers buy a fraction of a plane then pay monthly management fees and pay charges for flight time under a five-year contract. Flexjet also offers jet cards that come with a certain amount of annual flight hours, charter services and aircraft management.

 

 

Bombardier Aerospace appoints new president of business aircraft, makes other changes

Bombardier’s president of the business aircraft division, Steve Ridolfi, has a new role effective Jan. 1 — senior vice president of Bombardier strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

Ridolfi, who was in Wichita last month visiting the Learjet facility, will report directly to Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier president and chief executive officer.

Eric Martel, Bombardier president of customer services and specialized and amphibious aircraft, will assume Ridolfi’s role as head of business aircraft.

And Michel Ouellette, vice president and general manager of global aircraft programs, will move into Martel’s position.

“These appointments come at a critical time for Bombardier Aerospace as we make major investments in product development and continue to grow our services footprint internationally,” Guy Hachey, Bombardier president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Bombardier Business Aircraft chooses Montreal agency as agency-of-record

Bombardier Business Aircraft has chosen Montreal-based Sid Lee agency as its agency-of-record for its Learjet, Challenger and Global business jet brands, according to Marketing magazine.

Sid Lee will be Bombardier’s first agency-of-record for its business aircraft division, the magazine said.

Wichita’s Greteman Group does project work for the company.

Bombardier decided to unify its marketing behind a single agency two years ago to improve marketing efficiency and consistency across its brands, the magazine said. But the review was put on hold in May 2012 and restarted late last fall.

“Of the agency pitches under review, Sid Lee’s stood out for its long-term focus and multi-touchpoint recommendations,” Bombardier told the magazine.

One-of-a-kind artwork created by artist and a Learjet

Courtesy photo

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Learjet business jet, private jet services company Flexjet joined with Jet Art Group to create one-of-a-kind artwork using a Learjet 45 XR engine.

To create the art, artist Princess Tarinan von Anhalt hurled paint into the  force created by the plane’s powerful engines, a force several times greater than hurricane winds.

Von Anhalt stood 50 feet between the aircraft and the canvas to create the artwork.

The heat and velocity dispensed from the Learjet’s engine blended and welded the paint onto the canvas, making the unusual abstracts, according to Flexjet.

The artist had to consider wind, temperature, heat, paint thickness and exact timing to create the abstracts, it said.

The artwork was created in West Palm Beach this week.

Wichita aviation on display at Aero India

Wichita planemakers are showcasing aircraft in India this week at the Aero India biennial aerospace show, which runs Wednesday through Sunday.

Hawker Beechcraft is displaying its Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop, while Cessna Aircraft is showcasing its Caravan turboprop and Citation jets.

“India is expected to be amongst the world’s fastest growing economies in 2013 and stands to benefit hugely from a national expansion of business aviation, both for domestic and international travel,” Bill Harris, Cessna vice president of sales in Asia and the Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “Cessna is optimistic that legislative and regulatory reforms this year will remove several barriers to India’s aircraft market development.”

One of India’s pressing needs is to improve its intra-state air links, Harris said.

Hawker Beechcraft director of sales in India Todd Hattaway said the company sees a growing demand for its aircraft used in special mission applications throughout the country.

More than 20 King Airs are registered to state or federal government organizations in India, the company said. The majority provide VIP transportation for interstate and cross-country travel.

Eighty-two percent of new turboprop business aircraft delivered in India from 2002 to 2011 were King Air products; 83 percent of the total fleet of registered business turboprops in the country are King Airs, the company said.

Bombardier Aerospace is also in India with its Challenger 605 and Global 6000 jets.

 

 

Results mixed for a key indicator of business jet sales

The North American market for business jets is improving, although weakness remains in some key indicators of new business jet sales, according to a new report by UBS Investment Research.

“We continue to believe that the largest bizjet market, North America, is improving, driven by replacement demand postponed during the downturn,” according to the report by UBS analyst David Strauss.

Business jet cycles – takeoffs and landings – were 2 percent higher in October than a year ago and better than in September, which experienced a decline, the report said.

Strauss estimates that cycles are up 24 percent from early 2009, which was the trough, although they’re still down 18 percent from a peak in mid-2007.

Among the six major business jet manufacturers, Dassault was the only one to see cycle improvement in October. Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Embraer saw declines, while Gulfstream cycles were relatively flat, the report said.

Takeoffs and landings of long-range aircraft dropped 3 percent in October, while short- and mid-range aircraft cycles were down 2 percent each.

Analysts, manufacturers and others watch a variety of indicators, which include the number of takeoffs and landings, to predict demand for business jets.

 

Machinists union negotiators enter federal mediation over Learjet strike

With a strike at Bombardier Learjet in its fifth week, the Machinists union’s negotiating committee entered into federal mediation on Wednesday, the union said on its website.

George Cohen, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service director, said in a statement Friday that the mediation service has asked the company and the union to return to negotiations with federal mediators. The two parties agreed.

The FMCS, the union and the company also agreed not to make any public comment until further notice, Cohen said in a statement.

Learjet Machinists struck the company Oct. 8 after members rejected its proposal of a five-year labor agreement and voted for a work stoppage. The biggest issue was substantial cost increases in medical insurance.

Machinists union strikers at Learjet to help coat drive

Striking Machinists at Bombardier Learjet are using some of their off time volunteering with the Salvation Army’s coat drive.

About 25 strikers are working Tuesday sorting and processing more than 5,000 coats for distribution.

The Machinists at Learjet walked off the job on Oct. 8 after rejecting the company’s proposal of a new labor contract.

“The IAM members give millions of dollars to the United Way,” said Machinists spokesman Bob Wood. “We just saw this as an opportunity. We had some time so we can give back and help out some more.”