Bombardier puts Learjet 85 program on hold

Citing weakness in the light aircraft market, the Learjet 85 program will be paused, putting 1,000 employees out of work in Querétaro, Mexico, and Wichita, KS, US.

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Bombardier Inc. (Montrèal, Quebec, Canada) announced on Jan. 15 the pause of its Learjet 85 business aircraft program. The pause is due to weak demand for the composites-intensive Learjet 85 aircraft and follows a downward revision of Bombardier’s business aircraft market forecast. Bombardier says this reflects the continued weakness of the light aircraft category since the economic downturn.

As a result, the company will record a pre-tax special charge in the fourth quarter of 2014 of approximately $1.4 billion mainly related to the impairment of the Learjet 85 development costs. Additionally, Bombardier will reduce its workforce by approximately 1,000 employees at its sites in Querétaro, Mexico, and Wichita, KS, US. A severance provision of approximately $25 million will be recorded as a special item during the first quarter of 2015.

“Bombardier constantly monitors its product strategy and development priorities,” says Pierre Beaudoin, president and CEO, 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’s Wichita and Querétaro sites remain critical facilities in key markets. Wichita is a multifaceted facility and is the location of final assembly activities for the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft, the Bombardier Flight Test Center as well as a service center. In addition to contributing to many of Bombardier’s aircraft programs, the Querétaro site recently completed its Global 7000/8000 aft fuselage manufacturing building.