Tag Archives: #oem

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Sirius Aviation and BMW Group Designworks unveil hydrogen-powered business jets

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Sirius Aviation has unveiled two hydrogen-powered luxury business jets, the Sirius CEO-JET and the Sirius Adventure Jet.

Developed in collaboration with BMW Group Designworks, the aircrafts aim to transform private air travel with eco-friendly alternatives, substantially reducing CO2 emissions.

“The launch of the Sirius CEO-JET and Adventure Jet represents a major milestone in our mission to revolutionize air travel with sustainable solutions,” said Alexey Popov, Sirius Aviation AG CEO. “The CEO-JET offers an eco-friendly option for business travel, while the Adventure Jet opens new horizons for global tourism and exploration.

“We’re bridging the gap for individuals who aspire to own a business jet with pride in a future that values eco-consciousness,” said Popov. “Our customers will inspire admiration and respect, fostering a culture of positivity rather than judgment or criticism.”

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Textron Aviation Goes Big Down Under

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The airframer is upgrading its service network in Australia with expanded, modernized facilities

Looking to improve its service business aviation capabilities in Australia, Textron Aviation will expand its facilities at two sites. The airframer also has rebranded Premiair Aviation Services—the Australian MRO chain it acquired in 2020—to Textron Aviation Australia to fully integrate its locations in Perth, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast into its global service network.

In Perth, Textron will relocate its Jandakot Airport operation to a larger facility on the field, providing increased space for servicing aircraft and improving scheduling to lessen customer aircraft downtime. The new service center is expected to be running at full capacity by the end of next month.

At Essendon Fields Airport in Melbourne, Textron is adding 5,000 sq ft of parts storage, quadrupling its spares inventory in the region. The company is also adding a customer support and warranty team there to handle all Cessna, Beechcraft, and Hawker parts requirements. It said the expanded facility should be fully operational by month’s end.

“Increasing parts inventory and team members in Australia allows us to respond even faster to customers when they need support,” explained Brad White, the Wichita-based group’s senior v-p of global parts and distribution. “With more than 1,400 aircraft operating in the region, we’re making this investment in direct response to customer feedback and an increasing demand for parts availability globally.”

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Gulfstream G700 To Make Catarina Aviation Show Debut

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Flagship will be on display alongside the super-midsize G280 and large-cabin G600

Gulfstream’s G700 flagship will make its Catarina Aviation Show debut when the three-day event opens on Thursday at São Paulo Catarina International Executive Airport. The G700 will be on display at the show alongside Gulfstream’s super-midsize G280 and ultra-long-range G600.

“Gulfstream is experiencing significant interest and demand throughout Latin America, and the region is an important market for us,” said Gulfstream Aerospace senior v-p of worldwide sales Scott Neal. “The company has had a strong presence in Latin America for many years, including Brazil, and there are currently more than 230 Gulfstream aircraft based in the region.”

According to Neal, the Gulfstream fleet in Latin America has grown by more than 35% in the last 10 years. “Gulfstream’s product line—from the G280 to the G400, G500, G600, G650ER, G700, and G800—offer a compelling mix of size and range to suit a wide variety of operators’ needs, whether they are flying domestically or taking trips halfway around the world,” he added. “The G650 and G650ER have been popular in the region since the G650 was introduced in 2008, and we are seeing great interest in the G500, G600, G700, and G800 [there].”

Gulfstream has chosen the Catarina show over LABACE 2024 at São Paulo–Congonhas Airport; the aircraft manufacturer said that it will not be exhibiting in August at that event.

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Rolls-Royce Expands Business Aviation Services Network

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Engine maker adds Airline Support Baltic to its network of authorized service centers

Rolls-Royce is further strengthening its business aviation services infrastructure in Europe by adding Airline Support Baltic to its global network of authorized service centers (ASC). The engine manufacturer’s ASCs represent an essential element of its services portfolio and add to existing capabilities for its expanding CorporateCare customer base.

The latest addition of Airline Support Baltic in Riga, Latvia, to the ASC network will support the Rolls‑Royce AE3007A engine fleet, which powers Embraer Legacy 600s and 650s.

“Over the coming years we are seeing a significant growth of the installed Rolls-Royce powered business aviation fleet and its flying hours,” said Robert Werner, the company’s v-p of business aircraft availability. “By collaborating with the world’s most experienced maintenance providers we ensure we are ready for this increase and continue to deliver industry-leading service levels for our CorporateCare and CorporateCare Enhanced customers.”

Rolls-Royce has more than 85 ASCs in place with maintenance providers, claiming it offers business aviation customers the largest global service network in the industry. The company also operates several spare parts and lease engine storage locations worldwide.

According to Rolls-Royce, CorporateCare customers benefit from faster response times and reduced maintenance time with simplified, streamlined administration wherever they fly.

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Leonardo AW09 Gets Updated Corporate Look

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Helicopter to embark on demonstration tour

Leonardo took the wraps off of a full-scale cabin mockup of its AW09 single-engine helicopter at the opening of EBACE 2024. Showcasing a VIP-corporate transport cabin layout and paint scheme that will be offered as an option, the unveiling marks the “official entrance” of the AW09 as part of the Agusta family of corporate helicopters, said Cecile Vion-Lanctuit, head of communications and marketing for Leonardo’s Kopter Group.

The interior was designed to provide a customized yet modular approach to the cabin space with the latest technology and sustainability advancements. Carving a niche in the long-light single-engine segment, the AW09 will have the largest cabin and most legroom in its class.

According to Leonardo, the cabin can accommodate interiors ranging from a four-plus-one up to a three-plus-three-plus-two seating layout. The interior will be offered in a set of dedicated themes that the company is inspired by “harmony and perfection found in nature” yet present a modern feel. Themes include Desert Dawn, Cedar Woods, Ocean Twilight, and Dark Cosmos.

Also to appeal to the corporate crowd, the company is touting the large front and side windows that enhance visibility for the passengers, alongside the safety benefits for the pilot.

Kopter chief test pilot Richard Grant, along with Leonardo chief test pilot Giuseppe Afruni, unshrouded the mockup before a crowd gathered at the booth on the show floor, marking the kickoff of a demonstration tour that will include showings across Europe this summer, as well as at various events.

As Leonardo looks to expand its foothold in the corporate market with the helicopter—the first all-new model to be developed in decades in its class—it has built a backlog of orders for more than 100 units globally.

As the mockup embarks on its tour, flight testing continues on the AW09 with hopes of certification in 2025. Leonardo has two preproduction models—PS4 and PS5—flying and checking off a series of flight tests. PS6, the first production model, is expected at the end of the year. An earlier prototype, PS3, retired in September 2022 after 387 flights.

PS4, which incorporates all developments implemented on PS3, joined the program in March 2023 with the 1,000-shp-class Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel 2K, a switch from the Honeywell HTS900 on the predecessor prototypes.

PS5 joined the program this past February. Grant estimated that the two flight-test aircraft have now accrued about 130 flights, exploring a limited altitude envelope, up to about 16,000 feet with plans to go higher, and tested maximum speed in dive, he said.

In addition, Leonardo has completed a lot of airfield work simulating wind conditions. “At the moment, we’re able to hover in winds up to about 35 knots or around that with quite a low workload.”

Component systems tests have long been under way. “Now we’ve got to that stage where we’ve just got to gather the data,” he said.

In addition to the cabin, Grant touted the aircraft’s ease of flying and safety systems. “It’s designed to be easy and simple in every aspect, flying it, operating it, maintaining it,” he said. “I think it’s really achieving that. We’re starting to see that now.”

He added that other test pilots from Leonardo have flown it and “they’re all reporting very similar things.”

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Airbus Launches Hydrogen Feasibility Studies at North American Airports

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Major airports in the U.S. and Canada could become ‘hydrogen hubs’

As Airbus presses ahead with ambitious plans to bring hydrogen-powered airliners into commercial service through its ZeroE program, the aircraft manufacturer is eyeing several major airports in North America as locations for potential “hydrogen hubs.”

On Tuesday the company announced it is launching three studies into the feasibility of establishing hydrogen hubs at some of the biggest airports in the U.S. and Canada, including George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH) in Houston and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport (KATL)—the world’s busiest airport. 

While the research projects focus on a handful of specific airports, the results will help to guide the future development of hydrogen hubs around the world, according to Airbus. These proactive studies “mark a significant milestone in our pursuit of low-carbon aviation,” said Karine Guenan, head of ecosystem activities for Airbus’s ZeroE program, which aims to bring a 200-seat hydrogen-powered airliner with a 2,000-nm range into commercial service in 2035. 

For the research it is conducting at KATL, Airbus has partnered with Delta Air Lines—whose main hub is located at the airport—and hydrogen fuel specialist Plug Power. The team has already begun preliminary work to define the infrastructure requirements for a hydrogen hub and to determine the operational viability of hydrogen operations at KATL. They expect to complete the study at the end of 2026.

“Hartsfield-Jackson has long been a leader in the commercial aviation industry, and it only makes sense that we help lead this effort,” said Michael Smith, senior deputy general manager of administration at the airport. “If hydrogen proves to be a viable alternative, ATL will investigate options to update infrastructure needs in order to implement the new technology.”

Delta Air Lines is already a partner in Airbus’s ZeroE program. As part of an agreement signed in 2022, the airline is helping to identify fleet and network expectations and the operational and infrastructure requirements for hydrogen-powered airliners. 

Plug Power, which is based in New York and operates more than 250 hydrogen refueling stations around the world, recently opened a hydrogen production plant in Woodbine, Georgia that could potentially supply the fuel to KATL. 

“We have a ready-made supply of green hydrogen to support the airport from our new Woodbine, Georgia, production plant, the largest green hydrogen plant in the U.S.,” said Plug CEO Andy Marsh. (The term “green” hydrogen refers to hydrogen that is produced sustainably through electrolysis, using renewable electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.)

In addition to hydrogen storage and transportation, Plug Power also offers hydrogen fuel cells for aircraft and ground vehicles. Universal Hydrogen, a company developing hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for aircraft retrofits, has already flown its experimental Dash 8 twin turboprop using Plug Power’s ProGen family of fuel cells.

Meanwhile, Houston Airports and the Center for Houston’s Future in Texas have signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to explore the possibility of a hydrogen hub at KIAH as part of broader plans to reduce the airport’s carbon footprint. 

This study will examine “the opportunities and, if any, barriers to the hydrogen supply up to the airport, the infrastructure and equipment development,” Guenan explained, adding that the team will look into other potential uses for hydrogen at airports. For example, ground vehicles and other ground support equipment could be converted to hydrogen power. Hydrogen could also be used for heating at airport facilities, according to Airbus. 

“With Houston’s role as the world’s energy capital, our record of energy innovation, and desire to lead in the business of low-carbon energy, Houston is the perfect place to develop our airports as North American clean hydrogen pioneers,” said Brett Perlman, president and CEO of the Center for Houston’s Future. 

Airbus and its partners in Houston expect to complete the KIAH study in March 2025. 

ZeroAvia Joins Canadian ‘Hydrogen Hub’ Studies

To explore possible hydrogen hubs at airports in Canada, Airbus enlisted the country’s three busiest airports—Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (CYUL), Toronto Pearson International Airport (CYYZ), and Vancouver International Airport (CYVR)—along with hydrogen propulsion specialist ZeroAvia for a large-scale feasibility study. 

Airbus signed memoranda of understanding with those three airports as well as ZeroAvia during the International Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montréal on May 21. This marks the first time that Airbus has formally partnered with another manufacturer of hydrogen propulsion systems for aircraft, according to Guenan. Airbus also invested in ZeroAvia last year. 

“We are bringing together Canada’s largest airports, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, and the leading innovator in decarbonised propulsion technology, in order to progress the transition to hydrogen aviation,” said ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. “ZeroAvia flight testing demonstrates that hydrogen-powered commercial aviation is a prospect ahead of 2030, so we need to start working hard to prepare for the hydrogen infrastructure needed to support the aviation industry and airports as they step into a new golden age of clean flight.”

With its abundance of natural resources, “Canada has great potential for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric power,” Guenan said. “These first Canadian hydrogen partnerships enable us to cover the country from coast to coast.”

Last week, Airbus announced is leading a European Union-backed project called Ground Operations of Liquid Hydrogen Aircraft to demonstrate how handling and refueling technologies can be developed for airport operations. The work also involves hydrogen propulsion pioneer H2Fly and eight other partners.

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Textron eAviation’s Nexus eVTOL Aircraft Could Fly in 2025

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The company’s Nuuva cargo drone is approaching its first flights, too

The Nexus eVTOL aircraft is coming together at Textron eAviation’s Wichita headquarters as the company prepares to begin flight testing its hybrid-electric Nuuva V300 cargo drone.

Having certified the world’s first all-electric trainer airplane, the Velis Electro, the Textron Inc. business unit is working to solidify its foothold in the electric aviation industry, building on the company’s decades of experience in aircraft development and manufacturing.

Textron Inc. launched the eAviation business unit in 2022, the same year it acquired Pipistrel, the European aircraft manufacturer behind the Velis Electro. Shortly afterward, the eAviation unit took over the Nexus program from Textron’s Bell subsidiary, which had been working on plans for the eVTOL air taxi since 2019. Following a rocky start to the Nexus program under Bell, Textron’s eAviation subsidiary has hit the ground running and aims to begin flight testing in 2025.

“We really have been focused on various aspects of engineering it over the past two years and validating that engineering, and we’ve moved into the build process,” Textron eAviation president and CEO Kriya Shortt told reporters in a briefing at the company’s headquarters on May 1. “This is a pivotal year for us because pieces are starting to come together,” she said, adding that the team is in the process of mating the aircraft’s wing with the fuselage.

The Nexus is an all-electric, piloted eVTOL aircraft with room for three or four passengers. It is designed to fly around 100 nautical miles on a single charge with a cruise speed of 120 knots. Textron eAviation sees the Nexus working for a variety of use cases, including urban air mobility, emergency medical services, humanitarian aid, law enforcement, and special missions.

While Textron eAviation is overseeing the development work, the Nexus project represents a collaborative effort across the various business units of Textron Inc. “We lean into Bell for their tiltrotor technology, we lean into McCauley for its propeller technology, [and] we lean into Pipistrel for its battery technology,” Shortt said. “The aircraft is being built with our engineering, but the piece-part components are largely done through a collaboration with Textron Aviation,” she added. “We send our materials over and then Textron Aviation’s people are able to build the parts for us.”

NIAR Breaks Ground on eVTOL Testing Facility 

Flight testing with the Nexus prototype is expected to begin in early 2025 and will take place at a flight test facility that Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) is building near McConnell Air Force Base in southern Wichita.

NIAR, which has recently participated in battery drop tests with electric aircraft developers such as Archer Aviation and Beta Technologies, announced on May 6 that it broke ground on a new flight test facility specifically dedicated to eVTOL aircraft. The new facility will include ground-based test rigs as well as a “hover ramp,” Shortt explained.

“It’s a controlled environment where our team will be able to validate the performance of the aircraft. They’ll be able to replicate a flight mode by the way that the ramp is built without wheels ever leaving the ground,” Shortt said. Once the team is satisfied with the hover ramp test results, it will move on to tethered hover flights.

Textron eAviation is also in the process of building a ground control station for the Nexus at a hangar in Wichita, which will enable remotely piloted flight testing of the fully fly-by-wire aircraft. This is purely for testing purposes, Shortt explained. “Even though it’s envisioned to be piloted, when we start flying it we will fly it in an unmanned configuration.”

Nuuva Prototype Slated To Fly This Year

While Textron eAviation prepares to begin flight testing the Nexus prototype in 2025, the company’s Pipistrel subsidiary is preparing to fly its first prototype of the Nuuva V300 cargo drone even sooner. The Pipistrel team is now assembling the first Nuuva V300 prototype in Gorizia, Italy, and the aircraft is on track to make its first test flight in the second half of this year, Shortt said.

The Nuuva V300 is a hybrid-electric, ultra-long-range eVTOL aircraft designed to carry around 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of cargo up to 300 kilometers. Pipistrel announced the Nuuva program in 2020 and announced that Honeywell would supply various systems, including its compact fly-by-wire flight controls and satcom system. Honeywell also supplies its Small UAV satcom system for Pipistrel’s Surveyor fixed-wing surveillance drone, which is already on the market.

Shortt said Textron is not yet ready to reveal an anticipated timeline for certification and service entry of the Nuuva V300 aircraft, and it is not taking orders from customers at this time.

When the Nuuva V300 enters service, it will meet the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s SAIL IV (specific assurance and integrity) requirements for medium-risk uncrewed aircraft systems, meaning that it’s permitted to fly over populated areas without a formal type certificate. Operators in Europe would be required to obtain their own operational authorization from EASA after the regulator approves the aircraft separately via the issuance of a design verification report.

Eventually, Textron aims to progress to the more advanced SAIL VI operations, “which would be fully integrated into the airspace and operating with detect-and-avoid capabilities,” Shortt said. For SAIL VI operations, the aircraft will need to go through a formal type certification process under EASA’s Part 21 rules.

In addition to the V300, Textron intends to produce a smaller but otherwise nearly identical version called the V20. With a cargo capacity of about 20 kilograms (44 pounds), the V20 is intended for short light courier, last-mile delivery services.

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Bombardier Opens Its New Toronto Production Line for the Global 7500, 6500, and 5500 Jets

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The Canadian aircraft maker hasn’t moved far from its Downsview plant, but the manufacturing site at Toronto Pearson Aircraft is already transforming the way it makes the Global family of business aircraft. New technology and processes have been combined with a refreshed working environment for Bombardier’s skilled employees.

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IndiGo places order for 30 Airbus A350s

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India’s largest airline, IndiGo has placed a firm order with Airbus for 30 Airbus A350 widebodies as it looks to expand its international long-haul network.

The order comes ahead of an expected boom in international travel from India which is already the fastest growing aviation market in the world.

IndiGo’s order consists of 30 A350-900 airliners which have a range of 15,372 km carrying up to 350 passengers.

IndoGo CEO Pieter Elbers commented: “Today’s historic moment marks a new chapter for IndiGo and will further shape the future of the airline and for Indian aviation at the same time. For IndiGo, after successfully pioneering the Indian skies with an unprecedented journey, its fleet of 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft will allow IndiGo to embark on its next phase of becoming one of the leading global aviation players.

“At IndiGo, we take pride in being India’s preferred airline and for offering connectivity to our customers, in and with India. This reaffirms IndiGo’s belief in, and commitment to, the growth of India, and in our strategic partnership with Airbus,”

The Delhi-based airline is already a big operator of Airbus aircraft having one of the largest A320 family fleets in the world and the A350, with its cleats-leading efficiency, will help the airline take advantage of the growth in international travel to and from India.

Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, Airbus EVP Sales, Commercial Aircraft added: “A heartfelt thank you to IndiGo for putting its trust in Airbus once again, and to our respective teams who negotiated this agreement for 30 A350s. IndiGo’s first widebody order opens an exciting new chapter in our close partnership.

“We are proud that our fuel-efficient, next-generation A320 Family revolutionised domestic air travel in India, and that now the A350 is poised to replicate the same success on long-haul routes,” 

IndiGo currently operates 171 Airbus A320 and 84 Airbus A321 aircraft along with 45 ATR 72s and two Boeing 777’s, which at 16 years old, will likely be replaced by the A350’s.

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Bombardier On Pace for 2025 Goals, Sees Balanced Growth

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Bombardier today confirmed that it has a “clear line of sight” to meeting its 2025 objectives of 150 deliveries and $9 billion in revenues. Speaking during the company’s Investor Day at its new aircraft assembly plant at Toronto Pearson International Airport, president and CEO Éric Martel also confirmed that an order announced in December from an undisclosed customer for a dozen Challenger 3500s, valued at $326.4 million, was in fact from fractional owner provider NetJets and included 232 Challenger 3500 options that could push the value of the deal up to $6 billion, based on list prices. Deliveries on that order are set to begin next year.

As for its Investor Day, Martel outlined a plan to grow organically on all fronts—from delivery growth next year to expanding the market in services, defense, and its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program.

These are all contributing to Bombardier’s 2025 objectives, he said. When Bombardier became a pure-play business aviation company in 2021, it laid out goals of reaching $7.5 billion in revenues by 2025. Last year, the company boosted that plan to $9 billion as deliveries grew from 114 in 2020 to 138 last year, and an anticipated 150 in 2025.

In the long term, the company further believes it can bring in even more revenue on the services, defense, and CPO front: services is set to achieve $2 billion this year and grow to $2.8 billion, defense has the potential to reach $1 billion to $1.5 billion, and even CPO could become a $500 million to $1 billion program by 2030.

In terms of deliveries, Martel said the company remains in strong niches with a 2.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for revenues in those sectors anticipated over the span from 2019 to 2030. Also, Bombardier has built a healthy backlog of 14.9 billion. But Bombardier is not forecasting significant delivery growth beyond 2025. Instead, Martel said, the company growth will be balanced.

On the defense front, Bombardier sees a demand for some 375 aircraft representing up to $40 billion in spending over the next 10 years. “That’s a huge market…profitable market to tap into for use. We believe we’re going to be successful capturing a lot of that market,” Martel said, noting that he was recently in Washington, D.C., and received strong interest in such applications.

As for services, Martel noted that the company has a fleet of 5,000 that is growing by a net of about 100 aircraft a year. The mix, however, is changing, with more of the smaller Learjets leaving and more lucrative larger aircraft entering. In addition, with the 1 million-sq-ft expansion of its facilities and capacity in recent years, the company has upped its market share from 31% of the business to 46%, and Martel thinks that can grow to as much as 70%.

CPO, meanwhile, is “a new stream that we didn’t have before” but one that is capturing new customers within the Bombardier ecosystem, he said.

Martel also outlined plans for future investments, keeping in line with its strategy of building on its existing product line such as the unveiling of the Global 8000 and Challenger 3500. While Bombardier has not pointed to where such development may be, the Challenger 650 may be poised for a refresh since it entered the market in 2015.  Martel noted that the 650 “is still an airplane that our customer base loves” and that deliveries have been increasing in the past few years.

Martel also opened the discussion to acquisitions in the future as the company continues to improve its balance sheet and deleverages—since 2021, its net leverage ratio has shrunk from 7.7 in 2021 to 3.3 last year, and the company’s goal will be to whittle that down to 2 to 2.5 in 2025.

The acquisitions will remain in the business aviation realm, explained Bart Demosky, executive v-p and CFO. Likely targets could come in areas that support services, defense, or CPO areas. Martel added there are multiple opportunities available.

“Since starting our turnaround plan in 2020, our teams have delivered textbook-worthy results on all fronts, consistently meeting or surpassing many of our objectives. Bombardier is well on track to meet its 2025 objectives thanks to everyone’s collective focus on executing our plan flexibly, creatively, and passionately,” said Martel. “As we now look toward the second half of what has already been a historic decade for the company, we are focused on creating even more value for shareholders by building on a predictable and resilient foundation. Bombardier will have room to grow organically, as well as to deploy capital strategically.”

From 2020 to 2023, Bombardier has logged a 13% CAGR in revenues, including a 21% CAGR for services alone.