• Bombardier's Challenger 650 has a maximum range of 4000 nm, further than any product in the Cessna range. (Bombardier)
    Bombardier's Challenger 650 has a maximum range of 4000 nm, further than any product in the Cessna range. (Bombardier)

The USA's respected Wall Street Journal has reported that Textron is in talks with Canadian manufacturer Bombardier to acquire the company's business jet range.

Bombardier builds and markets the Lear, Challenger and Global series of corporate jets, a sector worth around $US 5-6 billion annually.

According to reports, Bombardier is looking to sell off it's business jet range to raise cash to retire some of its $US 9 billion debt.

“Since launching our turnaround plan, we have addressed our underperforming aerospace assets, completed our heavy investment cycle, and put the company on a solid path toward organic growth and margin expansion while prudently managing our liquidity and heavy debt load,” said Bombardier President and CEO Alain Bellemare in January this year.

“The final step in our turnaround is to de-lever and solve our capital structure. We are actively pursuing alternatives that would allow us to accelerate our debt paydown. The objective is to position the business for long-term success with greater operating and financial flexibility.”   

In 2017, Bombardier exited the commerical aircraft market, selling the C-series program to Airbus, which became the A220. The aircraft was built under a joint venture between the two companies, but Bombardier has said it is reassessing its participation in the project.

The reports come after Bombardier business jets recorded one of its best quarterly returns for several years. The company shipped 52 airframes of all types, the largest number since Q4 2016.

Textron Aviation has cross-over only at the low end of Bombardier's range, having competing products with only the Lear 75 and the 10-seat Challenger 350. Acquiring the Challenger and Global series would put Textron in a position to compete in the large business jet market against Gulfstream and Dassault.

It could, however, spell the end of the Lear name that pioneered small business jets in the 1960s, with Cessna's Citation CJ3 and CJ4 both comfortably out-selling the Learjet 75 last year.

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