Flashback: Bombardier axes Learjet 85, bizjet deliveries flat in Q3

 - October 7, 2022, 8:50 AM
AIN December 2015 p.26

With AIN Media Group's Aviation International News and its predecessor Aviation Convention News celebrating the company's 50th year of continuous publication this year, AIN’s editorial staff is going back through the archives each month to bring readers some interesting events that were covered over the past half-century.

REWIND: Bombardier ended months of speculation about the fate of the Learjet 85 when it confirmed on October 29 that it has formally cancelled the program. The decision comes a year-and-a-half after the all-composite midsize business jet first flew, in April 2014. When the company “paused” the program in January, the sole flight-test Learjet 85 had logged more than 70 flights.

Bombardier Business Aircraft cited “lack of sales following the prolonged market weakness” in its decision to cancel the program. “Although this is a difficult decision given the years of effort and hard work put into the program, it is the right decision given the market dynamics for this segment,” said Bombardier president and CEO Alain Bellemare.

FASTFORWARD: Bombardier pulled the plug on the Learjet 85 a year and a half after the midsize jet made its first flight. The all-­composite 85 would have been the largest aircraft produced under the Learjet brand and had amassed 64 orders when the manufacturer first paused the program in January 2015. Analysts at the time pointed to the overstretched research and development agenda and the severe cash shortage Bombardier faced.

The cancellation turned out to be the beginning of the end for the venerable Learjet brand that helped usher in the private jet concept starting in the 1960s. In February 2021, Bombardier announced it would close down the Learjet line, and this March, the company delivered its final Learjet 75, ending 60 years of production.