Bombardier’s Certified Pre-Owned Aircraft product offers a unique, premium pre-owned customer experience, as Thomas Fissellier, Director Pre-owned aircraft acquisition and sales support, explains
Bombardier launched its Certified Pre-owned Aircraft (CPO) offering around two years ago. Since then, it has delivered more than a dozen aircraft and already has a reputation for preparing jets to the highest standards. The company carefully selects the very best examples for refurbishment, upgrades and updates them, and then offers them for sale.
Potential customers may browse listings through the pre-owned section of the company website, where a photographic slide show and basic details – aircraft type, serial number, model year, passenger capacity, flying hours and number of landings – are available. Clicking for further details provides exactly that, while there is also an option to download a comprehensive fact sheet in exchange for an email address.
Purchasing a jet involves a few more steps, but the process need not be arduous, the entirety of the certified pre-owned concept having been established with quality, simplicity and transparency in mind. The effusive Thomas Fissellier, Director Pre-owned aircraft acquisition and sales support, provides a more complete picture.
“We’ve invested time and effort in making the Certified Pre-owned and pre-owned part of the website transparent and easily navigable. Our inventory is all there, clearly highlighted. When a customer clicks to download a brochure, they get a really nice set of photos of the interior and a detailed fact sheet that really explains everything we’ve done to the aircraft.”
Bombardier’s expert technicians thoroughly rework a Certified Pre-owned aircraft, upgrading its avionics to the latest standard, refitting the cabin and equipping it with state-of-the-art connectivity, entertainment and management systems. “We address what we call five ‘key pillars’ to create a Certified Pre-owned jet – you’ll hear us speak about them often,” Fissellier continues.
“First is the new interior and new paint, providing buyers with a ‘like-new’ experience, second is future-proofing, which means upgrading the avionics. In the case of a Challenger 300 or 605 that means installing the Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced avionics suite with the FANS 1A upgrade, and if it’s a Global Express or XRS we install the DU-875 Primus Elite avionics upgrade. We also future-proof the cabin with the latest connectivity, which is generally Gogo L5 on the Challenger and Ka-band for the Global.
“The third pillar is the peace of mind that comes with buying a Certified Pre-owned aircraft. They all have a one-year exclusive OEM warranty and Smart Parts membership, and their engines and APUs are on programmes, too. We want to make sure the customer is completely at ease, knowing that we’ve looked at and taken care of everything.
“Fourth is our turnkey solution. Whenever we deliver a Certified Pre-owned aircraft, we’ve made certain all due maintenance has been taken care of, plus all upcoming events – generally we like to keep a 12-month window where we’ve done that forthcoming work already. We also ensure selected recommended service bulletins have been installed. And finally, it is a Bombardier exclusivity that means we provide entry-into-service support comparable to that for a new aircraft.”
Certified Pre-owned is Bombardier’s premium used aircraft product and it sits alongside the more traditional pre-owned offer. “As we’ve done in the past and will continue to do, we offer remarketing services” Fissellier explains.
Meanwhile, Bombardier offers Certified Pre-owned across its aircraft family range, including the right Learjet, but Fissellier believes the programme is best suited to aircraft a little older than five years and coming out of warranty, up to 15 or 20 years old. “The programme really ensures our overall fleet is always up to the very latest standards and that’s why we’re not afraid to look at older aircraft. It’s also why many of our Certified Pre-owned customers are first-time buyers new to the industry, or owners trying out the Bombardier portfolio. So, it’s a complementary way to sell our business jets.”
A customer buying a Certified Pre-owned Challenger 300 today, for example, might upgrade to a Certified Pre-owned or brand new Global 6500 in two years, at which point, Fissellier believes the Challenger’s upgraded avionics, cabin and connectivity, plus warranty and Smart Parts coverage, will help keep its resale value high. “We started the programme in July 2021 and haven’t yet seen a Certified Pre-owned aircraft re-sell, but we do see a premium over comparable aircraft when we sell it.”
The cabins of Bombardier’s Certified Pre-owned aircraft are styled with end customer preferences in mind, working with in-house designers and the head of sales. “We make our interior design decision based on the team’s experience. For every aircraft we bring into the programme we sit down with our lead designer and head of sales and have a session with the experts who are most aware of customer tastes. It’s how we choose the leather type and colour, the wood colour, carpet style and galley floor material. The head of sales helps us keep an intimate connection with the customer.”
For the principal and their fellow passengers, the aircraft’s cabin and its suitability to the mission are most important, but maintainers and pilots are interested in a whole other set of parameters: the data and records that accompany a modern aircraft and accumulate throughout its working life. It comes as no surprise that these are also fundamental to the Certified Pre-owned concept.
Fissellier explains: “Any aircraft we acquire for the programme has been through a Level 3 pre-buy inspection. We make sure we fully understand its history, how it has been maintained and flown, and what upgrades have been applied before we buy it. That helps us ensure only the best aircraft come into the programme, and we actively seek them too. Our acquisition team watches the market for good candidate aircraft and examines trades we receive from customers. They decide if the aircraft is suitable for a Certified Pre-owned, pre-owned or trade offer.”
Expanding the capability of Certified Pre-owned aircraft even further, on 19 April, Bombardier announced Transport Canada, EASA and FAA approval for installation of the Smart Link Plus ‘box’ on most in-service Global and Challenger aircraft. Smart Link Plus monitors aircraft health, gathering data to better inform maintenance and operational decision making, saving time and money and, potentially, spotting a problem before it becomes critical. Plus, Fissellier adds: “If the customer opts to enrol their Certified Pre-owned aircraft in Bombardier’s Smart Parts Preferred programme, their coverage will include their subscription to Smart Link Plus for the programme’s duration. Bundling services this way ensures absolute peace of mind, with the ‘latest and greatest’ airframe and maintenance coverage.”
All Certified Pre-owned aircraft are worked on in Bombardier’s own service centres and although one recently passed through the OEM’s new centre at London Biggin Hill, most have been refurbished in the US. The decision-making behind Bombardier’s service expansion included providing the capacity for Certified Pre-owned work, while its unique visibility of customer transactions provides market intelligence allowing the acquisition, upgrade and resale process to be managed as efficiently as possible.
Across its Certified Pre-owned, pre-owned and trade transactions, Fissellier maintains Bombardier’s market share varies between around 5 and 10% of approximately 460 Bombardier aircraft available on the used market at any one time. Looking ahead, he says: “We believe we’re offering a premium product in a new market category, and we’re keen to grow the programme.”
Considering the process of purchasing a Certified Pre-owned aircraft, it is inevitably not quite as simple as clicking ‘Add to Basket’. “But it is fairly simple,” Fissellier notes. “Interested customers may click to contact a sales representative and the person for their region will be notified. They’ll get in touch to better understand the customer’s mission and needs, then ensure the aircraft is the best fit.”
During our conversation, Fissellier cites aircraft examples from the website inventory by stock number, his enthusiasm for and pride in the Certified Pre-owned programme shining through. “Two years ago, during the process of reframing Bombardier as a pure-play business aviation company, we realised that as the OEM we could deliver a unique pre-owned aircraft experience. I’m so pleased to have been part of the team that has pioneered the Certified Pre-owned programme and there’s real pride in seeing happy Certified Pre-owned customers.”