At the European business aviation show in Geneva this week, Canadian bizjet maker Bombardier launched the Global 8000, derived from its popular Global 7500, a plane that was already very fast and had a very long range. The 8000 takes both of those things a step farther while, do we have to say it, piling on the luxury trappings. Bombardier isn’t naming the retail price yet, but we’re guessing it must be well north of $70 million. (We’ll take two!)
The speed race in the bizjet world is hardly new. Every few years, a manufacturer introduces a private jet that goes a little faster than the previous fastest set of wings. Legendary names like the Lockheed Jetstar, the Lear Jet, the North American Sabreliner and the Dassault Falcon took turns as “fastest.” In more recent decades, the radical Cessna Citation X (and, later, Citation X+) put an end to “Slowtation” jokes and picked up a Collier Trophy with Mach 0.92 top speed and a 37-degree wing sweep. Today the Gulfstream G650 is the speed champ among jets in production, with a top speed of Mach .925.
With the 8000, Bombardier has thrown down the gauntlet and decided to go fastest. Its new Global 8000 was announced this week and will feature a top speed of Mach 0.94, not to mention a range of 8,000 nautical miles. Perhaps most interesting: a Global 7500 model modified as a proof-of-concept demonstrator for the Global 8000 reached Mach 1.015 during testing, which reminds us of the time a DC-8 did the same thing—a first for airliners—in 1961.
The first Bombardier Global Express was a sensation when it launched in the late 1990s, and the Canadian firm has steadily, if quietly, updated the nameplate ever since. The new Global 8000 is closely related to the Global 7500, and claims industry leadership for both speed and range. Bombardier states that the Global 8000 enhancements will be retrofittable to Global 7500 models once the new model goes to market in 2025.
In the airplane business, faster is always better, right? Well, the truth about airliners is that they have slowed down in the name of efficiency since the steamy days of Concorde and the Boeing 747. Business jets, on the other hand, never stopped getting quicker.