Bombardier, the debt-burdened Canadian plane maker in the middle of a turnaround plan, expects to see a rise in private jet sales in the Middle East early next year as oil prices recover from three-year lows.
The company is "very optimistic" about business in 2019 in the regional market, where it has received "great" feedback about its new Global 7500 business jet, Khader Mattar, Bombardier's vice president of sales for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, told The National. Bombardier has "a lot of orders" for the plane from the region with a delivery to be made soon.
"With oil prices going up this year, I'd imagine by the first or second quarter we'll see a turnaround and more activity in this market," Mr Mattar said.
The Global 7500, Bombardier's next big revenue generator, will enter service on December 20. Bombardier's biggest aircraft programme, CSeries commercial jets, is now controlled by Toulouse-based Airbus which renamed the jet family the A220. The Canadian company is shifting its focus to trains and private jets.
The new Global 7500's large cabin size, four living areas and range would be its biggest sales pitch to customers in the Middle East, a region that favours wide-body jets, Mr Mattar said.
As of the third quarter, Bombardier had about 100 aircraft in service, representing 26 per cent of the market share in the Middle East, excluding very light jets and large corporate airliners, the categories in which it does not compete, it said in its 2018-2027 regional outlook.
The Middle East is forecast to receive 275 deliveries valued at $11 billion (Dh40.4bn) from private jet makers over the next decade and wide-body aircraft will account for 45 per cent of those deliveries, according to Bombardier's market forecast.
The Middle East is a “very important” market for Bombardier, where Saudi Arabia leads the company’s private jet sales in the region, Mr Mattar said.
Bombardier’s most popular jets in the Middle East include the Challenger 650 and the Global 6000 and it sees growth prospects in long-range aircraft in the regional market.