Bombardier to cease Learjet production & cut 1,600 jobs

AvatarBy Skies Magazine | February 11, 2021

Estimated reading time 6 minutes, 11 seconds.

Bombardier released its full-year 2020 financial results on Feb. 11, where it also announced it is ceasing production of its iconic Learjet aircraft to focus on its “more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families.” 

The OEM announced Learjet production will end in Q4 2021, as part of the company’s plan “to drive profitability and productivity.” The decision will also allow Bombardier to accelerate the expansion of its customer services business. 

Bombardier will cease production of its iconic Learjet aircraft in Q4 2021 to focus on its “more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families.” Bombardier Photo

More than 3,000 Learjet aircraft have been delivered since its entry into service in 1963 — making a “remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation,” Éric Martel, president and CEO, Bombardier Inc., said in a statement. 

“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.”

The company said it will, however, continue to support the Learjet fleet “well into the future,” with the launch of its Learjet RACER remanufacturing program for Learjet 40 and 45 aircraft — offered through Bombardier’s Wichita, Kansas, service center. “RACER program includes a bundled set of enhancements, including interior and exterior components, new avionics, high-speed connectivity, engine enhancements, and improved aircraft maintenance costs,” the financial results press release reads. 

Bombardier also announced it will be taking a number of actions to “deliver stronger financial performance under the current market conditions, while also establishing a lower cost base to grow from, once the market recovers.” This includes consolidating its Global aircraft completion work in Montreal, and cutting 1,600 jobs. In June 2020, Bombardier announced it was laying off 2,500 workers due to the economic hardships endured as a result of the global pandemic.

Bombardier estimates the latest cuts will bring its global workforce down to 13,000 by year-end.

“Workforce reductions are always very difficult, and we regret seeing talented and dedicated employees leave the company for any reason,” said Martel. “But these reductions are absolutely necessary for us to rebuild our company while we continue to navigate through the pandemic.”

Bombardier said the actions it is taking should allow the company to generate $400 million annually in recurring savings by 2023. 

Biz Av Focus

Moving forward, Bombardier’s aviation division will focus solely on manufacturing its Global and Challenger business jets. The OEM has been working to reposition itself as a “pure-play business aviation company,” which it believes it has now achieved. 

In October 2020, Bombardier officially sold its aerostructures business to Spirit AeroSystems Holding, Inc., as part of the company’s effort to focus on business aviation. Within the last few years, the OEM also cut ties to its former C Series commercial airliner (now known as the Airbus A220), sold its CRJ Series aircraft program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and sold its Q400 turboprop family to Longview. 

Bombardier delivered 59 Global aircraft in 2020, 16 of which were delivered in the fourth quarter. Bombardier Photo

During 2020, Bombardier delivered 114 business aircraft, including 59 Global, 44 Challenger, and 11 Learjet planes. Deliveries peaked during the fourth quarter with 44 aircraft delivered, including 16 Global 7500 deliveries, which the company said was a record number. 

Revenues from business aircraft activities reached US$5.6 billion in 2020, growing three percent year-over-year, which Bombardier said was driven by the continued ramp up of Global 7500 aircraft deliveries. But due to the overall effects of the pandemic, the company reported a net loss of US$337 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2o20.

“Revenues from business aircraft activities in 2021 are expected to be better than 2020 based on a gradual economic recovery scenario,” the financial results press release states. 

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