Bombardier's Global 8000
Bombardier's Global 8000

Bombardier Unveils Global 8000

The airframer has launched the world’s fastest and longest-range business aircraft.

Bombardier unveiled the Global 8000 as the fastest (Mach 0.94) and longest-range (8,000 nautical miles) purpose-built business jet during a May 23 launch event at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva. According to company president and CEO Éric Martel, the decision to develop the aircraft was taken following customer engagement. “We listened to the customer. They’re very satisfied with the 7500 but they want more range and more speed. The time is right.”

A development aircraft flew supersonically last year, marking the first time that a civil jet has officially passed through the sound barrier since the days of the Concorde. It was also the first time any transport aircraft had achieved Mach 1 using sustainable aviation fuel. Martel noted, “Bombardier is never complacent with its portfolio. We are always advancing.” However, he said the company had no current plans to develop a supersonic business jet.

Bombardier has been discussing the Global 8000 for some time, but its launch had been put to one side while the company concentrated on getting the Global 7500 into service. With the recent delivery of the 100th Global 7500, development of the 8000 has now gathered pace, with an aim of getting the aircraft into service in 2025. The type is intended to replace the 7500, upon which it is closely based, but there will be a period of crossover on the production line.

Flight testing is being accomplished using one of the Global 7500 flight-test vehicles. On May 18, 2021, FTV-5 (C-GLBG) repeatedly achieved supersonic speed in shallow dives, reaching Mach 1.015. The flight was conducted from Santa Maria in California with a NASA F/A-18 Hornet fighter acting as a chase airplane. The supersonic trial was part of a campaign to validate the Global 8000 for a Maximum Mach Number of Mach 0.94—up from 0.925 on the Global 7500.

Bombardier is targeting an 8,000-nautical-mile range for the 8000 versus the 7500’s 7,700 nautical miles. This opens up new city pairs, including Dubai-Houston, Singapore-Los Angeles, and London-Perth. While the 7500 can make similar long-distance flights in the right conditions, Bombardier’s “no compromise” approach to development will mean that the 8000 has that range consistently available, without a customer having to potentially wait for favorable en-route winds to safely make the trip.

When initially talking about the Global 8000, Bombardier envisioned that the aircraft would be a version of the 7500, with the length shortened by around eight feet, and three cabin zones. During the development of the 7500, it became apparent that the type’s transonic wing and aerodynamics would support further speed and range advances without compromise on fuselage length. As a result, the 8000 features the full-length fuselage and, most importantly, offers the same four-zone cabin as the 7500. This is especially important on long-haul flights when one of the zones can accommodate additional crew members while still leaving three zones available for passenger accommodation.

There are relatively few changes from the 7500 except software modifications and some tweaks that will be applied to the GE Aviation Passport engines. The range improvements come largely from an optimization of the empty weight and the resultant ability to carry more fuel in the existing tanks.

Bombardier said the list price of the Global 8000 is $78 million, up from $75 million for the 7500. It will feature modern cabin technology and comfort, including a 2,900-foot cabin altitude and the company’s own Pür Air and HEPA filter technology.

Other cabin features inherited from the 7500 include the Soleil circadian lighting system and Nuage “zero-gravity” seats, with a variety of configurations for the four-cabin zones, one of which is a principal suite with a full-size bed and stand-up shower. For the flight crew, the aircraft will be fitted with the Bombardier Vision flight deck.

The launch of the Global 8000 is also good news for customers of the 7500, whether their aircraft have been delivered or are still on order. When the 8000 enters service, an optional service bulletin will be issued for the 7500, allowing it to be retrofitted with the 8000's performance enhancements if the customer desires. The downtime needed for the retrofit is expected to be less than a week.