Two themes seem to be emerging at the 2021 National Business Aviation Association’s convention in Las Vegas: Expanding interest in business aviation—somewhat related to COVID-19—and emphasis on sustainability and environmental impact.
In the case of Canadian business jet manufacturer Bombardier, that theme shows up in the fact that its fleet of jets around the world is flying more than it did before the pandemic and interest by first-time buyers is on the rise, according to company president and CEO Eric Martel. Meanwhile, the company’s recently announced Challenger 3500 was developed taking into account its environmental impact. Its interior materials, for example, will be sourced in environmentally friendly ways; its flight test program will be conducted in a zero carbon way, in part thanks to sustainable aviation fuel; and its factories are powered by hydroelectricity.
Bombardier has produced some 2,000 business jets, including 80 of its globetrotting Global 7500 long-range, large-cabin airplanes.
To support its growing fleet, the company is doubling its global maintenance space and is hiring some 400 additional maintenance technicians, about half of those in the United States. Bombardier recently expanded or is in the process of expanding its maintenance centers in numerous cities including Berlin, Singapore, Biggin Hill near London, Miami at Opa Locka, and Melbourne, Australia. To address the growing need for maintenance technicians, Bombardier is partnered with universities and community colleges to educate youth about the opportunities in the aviation maintenance industry.
The company also recently launched a certified pre-owned program where it will buy back select Challenger and Global models and put them through a remanufacturing and upgrade process before reselling them with certain updated warranties.