The landscape of business aviation is undergoing a significant transformation, revolutionizing the way companies connect with global opportunities. At the forefront of this dynamic industry is Bombardier, distinguished by its dedication to crafting exceptional business jets and delivering unparalleled aviation experiences to its clientele. Join us in this exclusive interview with Bombardier President and CEO Éric Martel as he shares invaluable perspectives on the company’s strategic expansion and sustainability endeavors.
Economy Middle East: How does Bombardier plan to capitalize on the Middle East’s significance as a key market for its business jets? How aggressively will you be expanding your defense business in the region?
Éric Martel: Bombardier is a leading aviation player offering large-cabin, long-range business jets that can reach almost any destination nonstop from the region. Our approach in the Middle East, like everywhere else in the world, is a customer-centric one. We enjoy meeting customers at individually tailored events and at important industry events such as the Dubai Air Show.
Regarding defense, Bombardier is indeed growing in this area as modern business jets are increasingly recognized as strategic assets for military forces across the world. Bombardier has an excellent reputation as a provider of reliable platforms, including in the Middle East. The UAE is an important customer of the Saab GlobalEye surveillance solution, which is based on the Bombardier Global 6500 business jet.
Economy Middle East: What are some of the key drivers of demand for Bombardier’s business jets in the Middle East? What is your outlook for the market in the region over the next 5-10 years?
Éric Martel: Over the last few years, business aviation has seen a structural shift in demand as more people seek the efficiency, convenience and privacy of business travel. This has been the case in the Middle East. In the region, customers are particularly interested in large-cabin business jets that can fly longer distances. We’re seeing strong demand for Bombardier’s Global family of jets. These jets set themselves apart not only with their speed and range but also by offering the smoothest ride and cabin experience. This allows passengers to be as productive and as comfortable as possible during their flight.
Our outlook for the Middle East over the next decade is very positive. We expect the business jet fleet in the region to continue its growth, especially in the large-cabin, long-range category.
Economy Middle East: In November, Bombardier announced its financial results with solid third-quarter revenues of $1.9 billion. How has Bombardier managed to exceed analysts’ expectations?
Éric Martel: I’m extremely pleased about Bombardier’s performance in the third quarter of 2023. We delivered solid results on all fronts, including a 28 percent year-over-year increase in revenues and a 36 percent growth in our margins. Additionally, our updated portfolio has a strong appeal for new and existing customers. Like many players in our industry, we continue to face supply-chain challenges. However, Bombardier’s teams have been very agile, identifying and mitigating problems before they escalate.
Economy Middle East: How is Bombardier differentiating its approach to sustain growth?
Éric Martel: When we redefined Bombardier as a company purely focused on business jets, we implemented a strategy that would allow us to perform well in any market. Our focus on medium and large jets helps us be resilient. It’s because these categories are less susceptible to economic uncertainty.
We’ve also diversified our revenue structure. For example, we doubled the size of our customer service footprint around the world. This allows us to service more of our jets as our fleet grows. We’ve taken a similar approach by launching Bombardier Defense in 2022. Another successful diversification of revenues is our Certified Pre-Owned program, also launched in 2021. It offers pre-owned Bombardier jets with refurbished interiors, fresh paint, upgraded avionics and connectivity systems. It also has an exclusive 1-year OEM warranty.
Economy Middle East: Bombardier has recently celebrated the delivery of its 150th-built Global 7500 business jet. What factors have contributed to the Global 7500’s success in the business aviation sector?
Éric Martel: The Global 7500 is a true success story for Bombardier. It is an aircraft with unprecedented range and innovations that raised the bar for what is possible in business aviation. Reaching this delivery milestone confirms that the Global 7500 aircraft responds to passengers’ need to fly longer distances while being more comfortable and productive. The fourth living area – a private suite with a full-size bed – is especially popular, as is our patented Nuage seating collection. I’m also very proud that this aircraft has proved so dependable, operating with a near-perfect dispatch reliability of over 99.8 percent.
We’ll soon be evolving the Global 7500 aircraft into the Global 8000. It will enter service in 2025 with an even better top speed (Mach 0.94) and range (8,000 nautical miles). Our existing Global 7500 customers will then have the chance to upgrade their jets.
I really must credit the Bombardier designers, engineers and other teams who worked so hard to create a product that stands apart in the industry.
Economy Middle East: Bombardier is taking bold steps on its sustainability journey. How is the company actively advancing its sustainability initiatives within the aviation industry?
Éric Martel: Bombardier has, for years, worked to make business aviation more sustainable. Although the business aviation sector represents a small portion of total global annual greenhouse gas emissions — approximately 0.04 percent — we believe that reducing the sector’s emissions is essential.
We’ve been a leading partner in the development of the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change. It has a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The two most impactful measures toward this goal will be ramping up the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels and technological improvements in aircraft design. For about a year now, we’ve been covering all of our operational flights at Bombardier with SAF. This decision is a first for manufacturers in our industry.
Bombardier also continues to design and manufacture aircraft with a smaller environmental footprint. One notable example of this is our EcoJet Research Project, which could potentially reduce emissions by up to 50 percent through a combination of propulsion and aerodynamic enhancements.
About Éric Martel
Éric Martel was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier in the spring of 2020. Since then, he has been a driving force behind Bombardier’s successful repositioning as a company purely focused on business aviation. Under his leadership, Bombardier is evolving its industry-leading portfolio of business jets and expanding its service footprint around the world while delivering strong financial results. He is deeply committed to the company’s Environmental, Social and Governance strategy, notably its goals of increasing diversity and the number of women in management positions, and shaping a more sustainable future for business aviation. Mr. Martel is also a member of Bombardier’s Board of Directors.
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