Made-in-Canada engines help Gulfstream pressure Bombardier
Hotly contested business jet market sees a shake-up as competitors take advantage of Bombardier's focus on delayed CSeries passenger plane
Plane maker Gulfstream, a division of General Dynamics, said the G500 and G600 large-cabin aircraft will enter into service in 2018 and 2019.
Both versions will be powered with Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new PWC800 engines assembled in Quebec and will fly faster and farther than older models while offering some of the features of Gulfstream’s largest plane, the G650.
Bombardier Aerospace spokeswoman Aurelie Sabatie said the Montreal-based manufacturer is not worried about its rival’s new aircraft.
“It is an evolution in the marketplace that we had anticipated,” she said in an interview.
“We have the right airplanes to respond to our customers’ needs and continue to be the manufacturer with the largest portfolio in all segments.”
Bombardier sells small cabin Learjets, medium-sized Challengers and high-end Globals.
Gulfstream last year overtook Bombardier as the world’s largest business jet maker by revenue thanks to the success of its G650 long-range large business jet. Bombardier’s response, the Global 7000 and 8000 aircraft, aren’t slated to be delivered until 2016 and 2017.
Industry analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said Gulfstream and French business jet manufacturer Dassault are taking advantage of Bombardier’s “weakened position” by introducing new aircraft.
“There are three players at the top end of the market and one of them is completely preoccupied with the CSeries and other challenges,” he said, referring to Bombardier.
Aboulafia said Bombardier makes good planes, but delays in introducing new aircraft is giving competitors a several-year advantage.
“Having the market to yourself for five years, that’s a very unusual event in the world of aerospace.”
Aboulafia added that Gulfstream’s use of Pratt & Whitney’s PW800 series engine will restore the Montreal-area engine maker’s presence in the high-end business jet market.
The Pratt engine will be assembled and tested at its Mirabel aerospace centre north of Montreal. It wasn’t immediately clear how many jobs may be created to make the Gulfstream engines.
The new Gulfstream planes have list prices of US$45.5 million and US$54.5 million, compared with US$50 million and US$62 million for Bombardier’s Global 5000 and 6000 planes.