Bombardier Inc. said it was ready to launch its next generation Learjet, which it has provisionally named the Learjet NXT.
The midsized business jet would be in competition the Gulfstream 150, Hawker 900XP, Citation Sovereign and Embraer´s yet-to-be-launched MSJ concept.
Its competitors list between US.5-million and US.2-million.
The Montreal-based plane and train maker said in a statement Tuesday it already has 65 letters of intent that it expects to convert into firm orders in the coming months for its new 8-passenger jet, which it said will have a stand-up cabin, a range of 3,000 nautical miles [5,556 km] and travel at a speed of Mach 0.82.
"I am extremely pleased to announce the launch of the Learjet NXT - an aircraft that is set to redefine the midsize jet category and set the standard against which all competitive aircraft will be measured," said Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier Aerospace chief executive, in a statement. Bombardier anticipates that there a total market demand in the midsize category, including both the midsize and the super midsize segments for approximately 2,800 aircraft in the next 10-years - representing some 28% of total business jet unit deliveries in that period, or 280 aircraft per year.
"We expect the Learjet NXT to be a very strong competitor in this category," said Danielle Boudreau, Bombardier spokeswoman.
While the highly anticipated jet was expected to be launched at this year´s National Business Aviation Association conference in Atlanta, Bombardier said it would wait until October 2008´s conference to unveil the first jet, marking the 45th anniversary of the first flight of a Learjet aircraft, Mr. Beaudoin said.