Bombardier Business Aircraft yesterday (Tuesday November 3) previewed production on its first two Global 7000 large-cabin, long-range business jets. The Canadian parent of Learjet said the two test airplanes are advancing through final assembly, and major structural assemblies on two other Global 7000 test aircraft are at various stages of production at its factory in Toronto.
Bombardier said it is using an advanced production line for the manufacture of its newest business jet, including the use of laser-guided technology to join the wing to the fuselage and articulated robot drilling “for accuracy and precision within less than one thousandth of an inch.” The Global 7000 will have seating for up to 17 passengers. With eight passengers, it is expected to have a range of 7,400 nautical miles, allowing the aircraft to travel nonstop from New York to Dubai. Bombardier Business Jets spokeswoman Anna Cristofaro said Tuesday the company is not announcing target dates for completion of the first two 7000s nor when they will begin flight testing. “We’re not sharing any further milestones,” she said.
Cristofaro confirmed that part of the Global 7000’s flight testing will occur at its flight test center in Wichita. In July, the company announced it would delay by nearly two years the entry into service of the Global 7000, to the second half of 2018. At the time, company officials attributed the delay to development of the 7000’s wing. The delay is also holding up the start of work on the 7000’s new engines at GE Aviation’s plant in Arkansas City. The plant’s leader confirmed to The Eagle last month a delay in plans to begin assembling the new GE Passport 20 engine. Tuesday’s update follows the company announcing last week that it was officially ending development of the Learjet 85, which was to be assembled in Wichita. The cancellation of the Learjet 85 prompted the company to write off $1.2 billion on remaining Learjet 85 assets in the third quarter of 2015. That was in addition to a $1.4 billion charge Bombardier recorded at the first of the year when it announced a pause in the Learjet 85, resulting in the layoff of 620 Wichita employees.