Bombardier Business Aircraft will add about 100 new jobs in Wichita when it transfers interior completions work on its Global 5000 business jet to its site on the west side of Eisenhower National Airport.
That was part of a larger announcement by Bombardier on Friday in which the company plans to add 1,000 jobs in Montreal for completions on its new Global 7000 business jet.
The Global 5000 work is expected to start in Wichita in the second half of 2018. It would bolster Bombardier’s operations in Wichita, where there are about 1,600 employees. The site lost 600 jobs after the company decided in 2015 to cancel development of the Learjet 85.
“It’s a chance for us to work on one of our premiere business aircraft products,” said Tonya Sudduth, Bombardier’s general manager of Learjet programs and Wichita site leader.
Bombardier’s other Wichita operations include maintenance, repair and overhaul of all Bombardier business jet models, Learjet 70 and 75 assembly, a flight test center and work on special mission aircraft.
Bombardier Business Aircraft president David Coleal, who flew from Montreal to Wichita on Friday to announce the new work, told hundreds of employees at an afternoon ceremony that their performance was key in bringing in the new work.
“Your quality of work is what really drove the decision,” Coleal said.
Sudduth said the completions work – such as installation of bulkheads, seats, cabinetry – will be done in two existing buildings, one of which also will serve as the delivery center for the Global 5000.
The company is not seeking government incentives for the transfer of work to Wichita at this point, Sudduth said. Two county commissioners, three city council members and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer attended the ceremony.
The Global 5000 is the oldest and smallest of Bombardier’s three Global business jet models, originally entering service in 2005. The more than $40 million plane is categorized as a super large business jet with a 5,200 nautical-mile range and room for as many as 14 passengers and three crew.
It has been a slower selling aircraft than its larger counterpart, the Global 6000, which besides size is identical in almost every other way, business aviation forecaster Rolland Vincent said. Bombardier delivered 10 Global 5000s compared with 42 Global 6000s in 2016 based on data from business aircraft intelligence firm JetNet, Vincent said.
But “it’s pretty expensive” to move work like that from one plant to another, and Bombardier probably has plans to extend the life of the Global 5000 and make it more attractive to buyers, he said. “Maybe they’re planning on doing an upgrade on the 5000.”
The company has done a lot to the Global 5000 in the past 12 years, including upgrading its avionics in 2012 and introducing a new cabin for it earlier this year, Coleal said.
“It’s got a long life,” Coleal said. “We didn’t bring it out here because it’s an oddball out. It’s a great selling platform within the Bombardier Global family.”