Bombardier has designated its Wichita, Kansas facility as its new U.S. headquarters, underscoring the site's growth and multi-disciplinary expertise. The company says the decision to locate its U.S. headquarters in Wichita is a logical choice given the site's deep-rooted history in aviation, the tremendous opportunities for growth in the maintenance, repair and overhaul and defence sectors, and its strong and talented workforce. The new U.S. headquarters is a key pillar in Bombardier's long-term strategy for its presence and growth in the U.S.
Bombardier's footprint in Wichita includes an expanding service centre that supports Bombardier's entire family of Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets. The site also continues to operate one of the world's leading flight test centres that performs testing and certification of aircraft upgrades on all new Bombardier aircraft programmes, including the ongoing certification campaign for the Challenger 3500 jet.
Wichita is also home to the newly renamed Bombardier Defense, reflecting the company's strategic expansion of its existing specialised aircraft division. The expanding defence market is a key area of growth for the company. With the reinvented Bombardier Defense, led by Steve Patrick, vice president Bombardier Defense, the company will leverage original equipment manufacturer (OEM) design, manufacturing and certification expertise to provide agile, innovative solutions hosted on Bombardier's class leading aircraft platforms. This centre of excellence for defence applications, technology and innovation fully leverages the Wichita workforce and local industry.
Bombardier Defense today also confirmed additional firm orders for modified versions of its Global 6000 aircraft, as part of a potential $465 million USD order from the United States Air Force (USAF) in support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) programme. Last year, Bombardier was awarded the sole-source engineering and modification Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract from the USAF to modify up to six Global 6000 business jets to become E11-A BACN platforms. Bombardier Defense will continue to leverage Wichita's highly reputed expertise to provide in-service support and upgrades to the USAF's expanding BACN fleet, underscoring Bombardier's status as a key U.S. aerospace employer.
“Wichita was the obvious choice as the home of Bombardier's new U.S. headquarters and Bombardier Defense,” says Éric Martel, president and CEO, Bombardier. “For more than 60 years, the established skills and expertise from the Air Capital of the World are second to none, and this latest confirmation from the United States Air Force is a testament to the confidence it has in our aircraft and importantly, in the strength of our people in Wichita.”
With the announcement of Wichita as the company's U.S. headquarters, Bombardier also announced that Tonya Sudduth, former vice president of operations, Wichita site, has accepted the newly created role of head of U.S. strategy. Based in Wichita, Tonya Sudduth will lead Bombardier's U.S. strategy, leveraging her extensive knowledge and rich aerospace experience to build strong relationships with key stakeholders in the community, government and industry to further strengthen and grow Bombardier's presence across all its sites in the U.S.
Bombardier continues to grow its footprint in the U.S. and in Wichita. The company has harnessed the high-level know-how of the teams in Wichita and doubled the size of its service centre workforce to meet existing and anticipated demand. From three hangars just four years ago, Bombardier's Wichita service centre has expanded to include seven hangars today, offering Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft operators exceptional original equipment manufacturer (OEM) value and customer experience. Bombardier Defense also benefits from dedicated hangars to meet growing demand.
Between Bombardier's service centre, flight test centre and Bombardier Defense, the company is actively recruiting to immediately fill more than 180 jobs in Wichita and close to 500 jobs across the U.S. To that end, Bombardier's U.S headquarters will host an open house on April 23, 2022 for employees and invited guests to showcase the site's expansive facilities and for job applicants to meet with recruiters.