Bombardier intensifies competition with Embraer with launch of revamped small business jet

UNITED STATES – Canadian based aircraft manufacturer, Bombardier has in October this year unveiled its revamped Liberty Learjet 75 corporate plane.

The manufacturer bets on the plane’s extra legroom and a lower price tag to help it beat back competition from Embraer SA’s market leading model.

The two aircraft manufacturers, Bombardier and Embraer are both turning to their corporate jet divisions for growth after shedding control of their commercial aviation programs.

During the unveiling of plane, Mischa Loeffler, manager for product planning at Bombardier Aviation said that the revamped plane featured more space, and more performance (than competitors) with similar cost and operating cost.

Jay Beever, vice president for design operations at Embraer Executive Jets, told Reuters the Learjet was part of an “industry sparring match,” which he said would benefit customers with improved designs.

Industry data shows that the soft-selling Learjet, Bombardier’s smallest business aircraft, is now trailing Embraer’s market-leading Phenom line

The Learjet 75, which can carry up to seven people was launched in 2018 for US$13 million compared with just over US$9 million for the Phenom.

The highly priced Learjet75 has had a difficult time since its launch largely due lower-priced jets from Brazil’s Embraer, Textron’s Cessna and Pilatus Aircraft.

According to the latest shipment data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Embraer delivered 27 Phenoms during the first half of 2019 compared with four Learjet deliveries for Bombardier.

Bombardier has however lowered the Liberty Learjet’s list price to $9.9 million this year, by removing once standard equipment like the auxiliary power unit (APU) to make it more affordable and attract more customers.

Some analysts are however sceptical about the price cuts on the Learjet 75, which already lose more than half of their value after five years, saying that this price cuts might end up hurting Bombardier’s bottomline.

Analyst Richard Aboulafia noted the Liberty Learjet would help keep the line viable but added that it was unlikely to win a big chunk of the market back from Embraer.

Montreal-based Bombardier is currently involved in a stiff competition with rivals Gulfstream and France’s Dassault Aviation for corporate aircrafts and has recently launched Global 7500, 6500 and 5500 higher-margin, large-cabin business jets to stay ahead of the pack.

In its latest forecast, Honeywell is expecting up to 7,600 new business jet deliveries worth $248 billion from 2020 to 2029, fueled by demand from corporate flight departments and the introduction of new models.

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