Canadian company Bombardier announced Thursday that it will halt Learjet production later this year to focus on more profitable aircraft.
This means the elimination of 1600 Careers In Canada and the United States, another blow to the aircraft industry that vanished in the epidemic.
The iconic aircraft was among the first luxury private jets. William Lear based his design in part on the Army Planes. The first Learjet flew in 1963, and more than 3,000 have been built since then.
“He was neat and had an approximate lineage of combat aircraft,” said Richard Abu Alafia, an aviation analyst at Teal Group. “In her time it symbolized the personal transport of executives. Besides, Carly Simon put her in a great song – cemented her place in popular culture.”
Besides being a line in the 1971 Simon song, “You So Vain,” the plane has appeared elsewhere in pop culture, including the popular TV show “Mad Men.” Frank Sinatra allowed Elvis Presley to borrow Leargate for an escape with Priscilla Pollio in 1967.
In recent years, aircraft production has slowed to about one a month. The decision was predicted on Thursday in 2015, when Bombardier pulled the plug on an all-new model, the Learjet 85, due to weak demand. Analysts can see the end of the line.
“The only thing the epidemic has done is accelerate the sad end,” said Abu Alafia.
Bombardier said it will continue to support the Learjet fleet, and will fly existing aircraft for many more years.
Most of the projected job losses for Montreal-based Bombardier will occur in Canada, with around 700 jobs planned in Quebec and 100 in Ontario. The company said about 250 jobs will be abolished in Wichita this year and next, with another 100 jobs lost across the United States.
The job cuts are always difficult, CEO Eric Martel said in a statement, “but these cuts are absolutely necessary for us to rebuild our company as we continue to weather the pandemic.”
Air travel decreased during Covid-19 , Which caused a sharp drop in demand for new aircraft.
Bombardier said ending Learjet production later this year would allow the company to focus on its most profitable Challenger and Global aircraft and accelerate expansion in the service business.
Koenig reports from Dallas.