Bombardier eyes upscale Challenger 350 as key to retaining mid-size-jet market share

©Bombardier Challenger 3500 Business Jet

Canadian business jet manufacturer Bombardier has unveiled its new variant of the Challenger 350, the Challenger 3500 at a global virtual event held in Canada. An upscale variant of the Challenger 350, the 3500 is Bombardier’s attempt to further capitalize on the increased demand for business jets and to help it retain its dominating market presence for mid-size business jets.

The Challenger 3500 is due to enter into service in the second half of 2022 and will come with ten passenger seats together with state-of-the-art voice-controlled cabin lighting systems, temperature, and entertainment systems, the first wireless chargers throughout the cabin and the only 24-inch, 4K display in its class, plus smaller versions of the Nuage lounge seats found on its flagship Global 7500 jet, the first time a seat of this caliber has been made available in this size of jet.

While there is currently strong demand for mid-size business jets, there is also a healthy amount of competition for Bombardier from Embraer’s Praetors, Textron’s Cessna Citation Longitude, and Gulfstream Aerospace’s G280. The post-pandemic focus on health, together with a desire for privacy and security has driven sales of mid-size jets, though there are concerns from outside Bombardier that the changes incorporated in the Challenger 3500 may be insufficient for buyers who are constantly on the lookout for the latest features. If, for example, Gulfstream Aerospace came out with a clean-sheet alternative to the G280 this would create problems for the Challenger 3500.

“We’re raising the bar in that category,” said Chief Executive Éric Martel in an interview, while adding that cabin features were also key for Challenger customers. He also advised that a flight test for the Challenger 3500 would be performed in Wichita, Kansas. Bombardier has confirmed that a full-scale mock-up of the jet will be on show at the 2021 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition next month in Las Vegas, the largest airshow in the business aviation industry.

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