Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier said sales of its business jets in the Middle East and North Africa would rise by up to 40 per cent in 2007 amid surging economies and growing interest in private air travel.
The world's number three aircraft manufacturer behind Boeing and Airbus said it is on track to sell 30 business jets valued at between $9 million and $53 million each. The company would not list the total value of the forecasted sales.
To date the company has sold 27 jets to Middle East customers, according to Khader Mattar, vice-president of sales, Middle East, Africa and Turkey. Its fiscal year ends on January 30.
Bombardier markets three airplane families in this region. It sells the superlight Learjet, ranging between $9 million and $14 million at list price. The wide-bodied Challenger aircraft seats nine to 13, meanwhile, and sells for $23 million to $32 million.
The company also manufactures the ultra-long range Global line of business jets, which can seat eight to 19 passengers, depending on the configuration, and fly as high as 51,000 feet and as fast as Mach 0.89.
The list price for Global jets ranges from $43 million to $53 million. Bombardier uses both GE and Rolls-Royce engines depending on the aircraft type. "The demand has gone crazy at the moment in the Middle East," Mattar said yesterday. A key requirement for Middle East customers was non-stop service to London, he said, which the Challenger and Global jets meet.
At the Dubai Airshow, the company is expected to announce the Middle East sale of a Challenger 605, its newest wide-bodied business jet. Worldwide, Bombardier has sold 274 aircraft and expects to top 300 by year-end.
The airframe maker operates in a highly competitive market for business jets which includes Embraer, Cessna, Raytheon and Hawker Beechcraft, as well as the private jet divisions of Boeing and Airbus. The market is expected to grow even tighter with the arrival of Russian, Chinese and Japanese private jet manufacturers. ( Gulf )