Bombardier has ‘paused’ development of its Learjet 85 business jet claiming weak market demand and the need to concentrate on other projects.
The $18.5 million Learjet 85 was supposed to be a new flagship for the iconic bizjet company. A cleansheet design, the 85 was the biggest and most comfortable Learjet ever. It was also the first non-metal Learjet, having a composite airframe manufactured at Bombardier’s Querétaro, Mexico site. Problems with the airframe have delayed the project, although the first complete prototype, known as FTV1, did make its maiden flight in April 2014.
Bombardier has made no mention of whether or when it might restart the project. The ‘pause’ will cost $1.4 billion and around 1,000 jobs at both the Mexican site and Learjet’s HQ at Wichita, USA.
“Bombardier constantly monitors its product strategy and development priorities,” said Pierre Beaudoin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. “Given the weakness of the market, we made the difficult decision to pause the Learjet 85 program at this time. We will focus our resources on our two other clean-sheet aircraft programs under development, CSeries and Global 7000/8000, for which we see tremendous market potential. Both programs are progressing well.”
Bombardier said its aerospace division exceeded its delivery targets with a total of approximately 290 aircraft (204 business, 84 commercial and two amphibious aircraft) – up 22% on 2013’s figures.