Bombardier Launching New Large Business Jet

Canadian aircraft manufacturer approved launch of another large business aircraft to help it fend off competition from U.S. rival Gulfstream's new flagship business jet.

TORONTO (AP) -- Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace said Thursday it has approved the launch of another large business aircraft to help it fend off competition from rival U.S. aircraft maker Gulfstream's new flagship business jet G650.

Bombardier Aerospace president Guy Hachey said the manufacturer has a product development strategy that combines advanced technologies with environmental responsibility.

"Our intention is to grow our leadership position and the time is right to move forward with our extended Global aircraft family," he said.

The Montreal-based company will release details of the new addition to its Global Express family at the National Business Aviation Association's convention next month in Georgia.

Bombardier did not indicate if the new product will be a new design or add features to its existing designs such as improved speed and range to better compete with Gulfstream's G650.

The Gulfstream model, which is set to enter into service in 2012, will be the widest, fastest and longest range business jet. It will be 20 percent larger and faster than Bombardier's Global Express.

Sales of large business aircraft have been less affected by the financial crisis and economic recession than smaller offerings.

Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said the aircraft will maximize efficiency while offering customers ultimate flexibility.

George Tsopeis, a former Bombardier executive and now the vice president of aviation services with aerospace consulting firm Zenith Jet, forecast Bombardier would introduce a new product earlier this month.

Tsopeis estimated a stretched version of the Global Express would cost between US$200 million and US$300 million, while a new plane would cost about US$1 billion and take longer to complete.

Bombardier's announcement comes in the same week two of its planes had to make emergency landings because of a landing gear problem.

A Skywest Airlines plane landed Tuesday at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee after the cockpit crew reported only two of the three sets of landing gear would lower. All 36 passengers and three crew members aboard the Bombardier CRJ-200 deplaned safely.

Last Saturday, Delta Connection Flight 4951, operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines, made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport because of a problem with its landing gear. There were no injuries in that incident, which involved a CRJ-900 twin-engine jetliner.

Bombardier spokesman Marc Duchesne said the aircraft had different landing gear and insisted the company's aircraft are safe, noting they have been involved in tens of millions of landings and takeoffs for dozens of airlines worldwide.

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