May 27, 2018 / 5:45 PM / 5 months ago

Bombardier launches longer-range variants of Global business jets

MONTREAL, May 27 (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc on Sunday announced two new longer-range variants of its existing large-cabin Global business jets, which the company expects to generate higher revenues during a time of recovering appetite for corporate planes.

The Global 5500 and 6500 jets are expected to offer 13 percent improved fuel burn and longer ranges compared with the plane-and-train-maker's existing Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft. The jets will also have new wings, interiors, and Rolls Royce engines, among other upgrades, Bombardier spokesman Mark Masluch said.

The 5500 and 6500, which have the same bodies as Bombardier's current Globals, will be manufactured at the company's existing Canadian production lines.

The new jets are expected to receive certification in 2019, ahead of delivery by the end of next year and will drive a "premium price," Masluch said by phone from Geneva, ahead of the EBACE business jet show.

The Global 5500, which lists for $46 million, has a range of 5,700 nautical miles and can connect Sao Paolo and Paris, while the Global 6500, which lists for $56 million, has a range of 6,600 nautical miles, can connect Hong Kong and London, Bombardier said.

Bombardier's larger cabin planes compete against General Dynamics Corp's Gulfstream, whose G650 business jets will continue to have unmatched flight range at the top end of the pure business jet segment until the largest Global enters service this year.

While a hefty supply of used aircraft has prompted planemakers to lower production volumes of new corporate aircraft in recent years, some forecasters expect business jet sales to pick up between 2019-2027, in line with global GDP growth.

Revenues from sales of the 5500 and 6500 will be part of Bombardier's five-year turnaround plan that leans heavily on delivery of its flagship, Global 7000 business jet to achieve a 25 percent jump in total company revenues to $20 billion by 2020, compared with 2017.

Total revenues from Bombardier's business aircraft are expected to grow to $8.5 billion in 2020, up from $5 billion in 2017.

Masluch said that most of the investments in developing the new variants are "already behind us."

Bombardier considered bankruptcy in 2015, after facing a cash-crunch because of heavy spending on both the CSeries commercial plane and the ultra-long-range Global 7000, which will be renamed the Global 7500. (Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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