Bombardier, maker of the iconic business jet, has announced that the latest Learjet will be produced in 2021. The company, which is experiencing difficulties, preferred to stop the production of its iconic aircraft line to focus on its most profitable models, the Challenger and Global.
In October 1963, American engineer Bill Lear flew the prototype of his business jet, the Learjet 23, for the first time. Little did he know that more than half a century later, the Learjet would become one of the most frequently used business jets. In fact, since its introduction, more than 3,000 Learjet aircraft have been delivered worldwide. Learjet has often been associated with the rich and famous. Elvis Presley is remembered for stealing Frank Sinatra’s Learjet to escape from Las Vegas in 1967.
Learjet is one of those brands that set the standard for private aviation. Inspired by a Swiss Army FFA P-16 fighter, the Learjet 23 was capable of carrying 6 or 8 passengers at over 800 kilometers per hour. Fast, comfortable and well thought out, it already had all the makings of a great business jet. To promote it, Lear sent it on a round trip from Los Angeles to New York in 11 hours 36 minutes, a record for the time. In 1990, the Canadian company Bombardier bought Learjet and successively launched the Learjet 31, 40, 45, 60, 70 and 75.
Learjet 75, the last model still in production
In the last few years, Learjet has seen its sales decrease. Today, the Learjet 75 is the last model still in production. With its eight seats, the Learjet 75 remains an admirable aircraft,
It is still very popular with customers, especially for flights of less than four or five hours. Its Liberty variant was launched in 2020 to compete with the Embraer Phenom and Cessna Citation. With this model, Bombardier’s goal was to modernize its product line, offering the first-ever executive
first executive suite in the light private jet segment. Unfortunately, the Learjet 75 Liberty was not as successful as expected…
A modernization program put in place
Despite the end of Learjet production, Bombardier does not intend to leave its customers without support. The aircraft manufacturer has launched a modernization program called “Learjet RACER”, aimed at Learjet 40 and Learjet 45 operators. The aircraft will benefit from a number of cabin and exterior upgrades. These upgrades will include new avionics, installation of a high-speed connectivity system, engine upgrades and more. The work will be performed in Wichita, where the Learjet assembly line is located.
Actions taken by Bombardier
In addition to the discontinuation of the Learjet, Bombardier will cut 1,600 jobs in addition to the 2,500 already announced in June 2020. The goal of the announced measures is to achieve annual savings estimated at more than $500 million by 2023. The company now wants to be profitable with production around 110 to 120 aircraft per year. The company also plans to significantly reduce the surface area of its plant located in the borough of Saint-Laurent in Montreal by selling part of its land. The money raised would be used to finance the construction of a facility near Toronto’s Pearson Airport to build the Global 7500, the company’s newest business jet.