Business & Investment

Learjet, synonymous with jet sets, is approaching the end of the Reuters runway

© Reuters.File Photo: Staff clean the tail of a Bombardier Learjet aircraft in a static exhibition area before EBACE opens at Cointrin Airport in Geneva


Allison Lampert

Montreal (Reuters)-Learjet, a sophisticated private jet that has been used by celebrities for decades, will be discontinued this year due to sluggish demand due to competition from new and cheap rivals.

Long before COVID-19 reached demand in 2020, a cheaper model of similar size Embraer SA (NYSE :) and Textron Inc (NYSE :) Cessna eroded the demand for Learjet.

Created by American Entrepreneur Building rear (NYSE :), Learjet 23 first took off from Wichita, Kansas in 1963, breaking speed records and building a new market for modern business aircraft with owners like Frank Sinatra.

Since then, approximately 3,000 Learjets, accommodating up to nine passengers, have been flying with a bullet-shaped nose capable of flying at speeds close to the speed of sound at Mach 0.81.

Bombardier (OTC :), which acquired Learjet in 1990, said last week’s production would end this year. However, according to JETNET data, it will serve airplanes, which account for about 42% of the 5,000 business aircraft in service.

The performance of Learjet, which some civilian pilots described as being closest to fighter flight, was second to none at the low cost of its rivals.

“Demand has increased because of less equipment and lower prices,” said Bombardier spokesman Mark Masuluch.

For example, Embraer’s Phenom is listed for about $ 9 million, compared to Learjet 75’s about $ 13 million.

“Customers want great Mercedes in that segment, but I’m not sure if they want Ferrari (NYSE :) anymore,” said Learjet, aerospace analyst Roland Vincent, comparing Learjet to Italian sports cars. Told.

Wealthy buyers, meanwhile, are increasingly using large cabin jets with showers, beds and stoves that connect remote cities without refueling, such as General Dynamics Corporation’s (NYSE :) Gulfstream and Bombardier’s own global series. I was looking for it.

Lose the ground

Maintaining the relevance of older planes through industry upgrades that crave the latest models is a useful lesson for planes like the Bombardier Challenger 650, Vincent said.

Masluch said the 650 will remain competitive in its market space and appeal to specific segments.

“It was a dollar box for them, but there is a way to get fat,” Vincent said of a family of 600 aircraft that first flew in 1978.

Bombardier’s plans for a larger Learjet 85 made of lightweight composites failed to come true, resulting in a $ 1.2 billion write-down in 2015.

Bombardier sought to compete for price by launching the Liberty Learjet 75 for $ 9.9 million in 2019.

The plane was ordered as an ambulance, a niche profession of Learjet.

Still, according to JETNET data and Bombardier, Learjet was dropped in just 11 deliveries last year, compared to 112 deliveries in 2001.

“In the end, we had more options now,” said Don Dwire, managing partner of Guardian Jet.

But fast and sophisticated Learjet always has supporters, said Adam Tweider, CEO of Private Fly.

He said the chartered global booking service is still receiving requests from passengers to “wait for the rear.”

Learjet, synonymous with jet sets, is approaching the end of the Reuters runway Learjet, synonymous with jet sets, is approaching the end of the Reuters runway

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