US planemaker Gulfstream challenges Bombardier with new flagship G700 business jet

UNITED STATES – U.S. plane-maker Gulfstream unveiled its widely expected G700 long-range jet in October this year, in what is believed to be a challenge to Bombardier Inc’s flagship Global 7500 aircraft.

Gulfstream Aerospace, a unit of General Dynamics Corp, revealed that the new plane would be powered by Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC Pearl 700 engines and anticipates customer deliveries in 2022.

The announcement came on the eve of the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) annual corporate aircraft show in Las Vegas, the biggest business jet show in the world.

Large corporate planes that can fly farther are popular with customers and are usually a highlight of the NBAA show which took place in late October this year.

Gulfstream Aerospace President Mark Burns said the flagship G700, priced at $75 million, would be the “tallest, widest cabin in our industry.”

During the launch, Burns unveiled a mock-up of the plane, which seats up to 19 passengers, features a six-place dining or conference room and can fly 7,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.85.

The new Gulfstream plane would compete against Bombardier’s $73 million Global 7500, which is sold out through 2021.

Gulfstream secured 10 firm orders of the G700 from launch customer Qatar Executive, a division of Qatar Airways.

Gulfstream also revealed that Flexjet was its first North American customer although it did not specify an order number.

This year’s edition of the NBAA show takes place against a backdrop of slowing global economic growth, trade tensions between the United States and China and Brexit uncertainties, factors that industry experts see softening demand for corporate jets in the next two years.

Even with the global trade uncertainties, Brazil’s Embraer SA was in October able to secure a firm order valued at $1.4 billion order for 64 business jets from fractional aircraft ownership provider Flexjet.

Flexjet Chief Executive Michael Silverstro announced the deal with Embraer Executive Jets President Mike Amalfitano.

Montreal-based Bombardier also said in October that its new Global 5500 aircraft will fly 200 nautical miles farther than planned, with a range of 5,900 nautical miles, a lure for customers eager to travel non-stop between far-flung cities.

Textron Inc, whose subsidiary Textron Aviation produces Cessna Aircraft, also announced at a further expansion of its global parts distribution capabilities to make its parts more accessible to customers in Europe and Asia-Pacific earlier this year.

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