Learjet, the aircraft that was once revered by big-named celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, is putting an end to its production line. Canadian jet manufacturer Bombardier announced on Thursday that it would focus more attention on its Challenger and Global aircraft, which are seeing more profit. Bombardier owns the Learjet brand.
More than 250 workers at the Witchita, Kansas factory will lose their jobs due to Learjet productions’ halting.
Eric Martel, Bombardier CEO, said: “With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry-into-service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation. Passengers all over the world love to fly this exceptional aircraft and count on its unmatched performance and reliability. However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production.”
Learjet announced that it would cut 1,600 positions, and the layoffs at the Kansas plant are among those to lose their jobs. Bombardier said that its company had lost $886 million last year. The company has sold its rail car and regional jet businesses to focus more on other jets.
Bill Lear initially launched Learjet in 1962, and it was among the first private jets. Learjet had a prominent standing early on with famous stars like Sinatra and Elvis.
But celebrities of today prefer Learjet’s competitors, Gulfstream and Global, among them.
Bombardier purchased Learjet in 1990. Bombardier just began deliveries last October of the Learjet 75, its latest private plane. But the first Learjets are much smaller than the other private jets. While the Learjet 75 can hold six to eight passengers, the Challenger can hold a minimum of nine passengers, while the Global holds up to 18.
But like so many businesses over the past year, Learjet was significantly impacted by the pandemic early last year, when it slashed 2,500 jobs. The brand made a comeback late last year when consumers switched from first-class planes to private jets. The Global 7500 aircraft had record deliveries totaling 16 in the last quarter of 2020.