With a heritage going back to the 1970s, the Bombardier Challenger 650 is arguably most due for a makeover...
Will HondaJet acquire Learjet?
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September 16, 2019 - by Brian Foley for forbes.com
Bombardier differentiates its business jet divisions by cabin size. Think of their small, medium and large jets being branded Learjet, Challenger and Global, respectively. The top-of-the-line Global division has already received a makeover with the Global 5000 and 6000 becoming the 5500 and 6500, and the all-new Global 7500 has just begun deliveries to customers.
Their middle-sized aircraft, the Challenger 350 and Challenger 650, are both overdue for other than incremental improvements. When jet buyers can't distinguish brand new aircraft from used, there's less incentive to pay the premium for new. With a heritage going back to the 1970s, the Challenger 650 is arguably most due for a makeover. An even bolder move for Bombardier would be to announce an all-new Challenger replacement, and not just another incremental engine and avionics tweak that would only bore the market and limit sales.
The future of Bombardier's small-cabin Learjet division is a bit of a question mark, with its last all-new Learjet 85 development project being cancelled and the remaining tired product line delivering just 4 units during the first half of 2019. However, it's possible that beauty is in the eye of the beholder if taken from HondaJet's perspective.
One might reason that HondaJet's recent 82,000 sq. ft. facility expansion telegraphs a new announcement forthcoming. Currently it's only a one-trick-pony with its HondaJet light jet.
Manufacturers need to have a family of aircraft to have a meaningful market presence and step-up products for their existing customers. When exploring the company's online job board, the call is out for engineers with expertise in wing, fuselage and systems design; all indicative of an active in-house skunkworks.
Thus, either an all-new product or acquisition of an existing program such as Bombardier's Learjet division are conceivable...
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