Bombardier to discontinue Learjet, cut 1,600 jobs, 250 in Wichita

Bombardier Learjet 31A jet in flight, photo
Bombardier Learjet 31A jet in flight, photo(Associated Press)
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 11:32 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Bombardier announced Thursday that it will end production of the Learjet aircraft later this year. The move will result in the reduction of 1,600 jobs overall, including 250 in Wichita.

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

Bombardier said it will continue to fully support the Learjet fleet well into the future. The company has launched the Learjet RACER remanufacturing program for Learjet 40 and Learjet 45 aircraft. The 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.

“With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry-into-service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation. 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,” explained Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc.

Bombardier said cutting production of Learjet will allow its focus to be put on the more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft and accelerate the expansion of its customer services business.

“Really, really disappointed said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 70 President Cornell Beard. “I understand a lot of it’s being moved over to Montreal, but we still think we can do all the work here. E know we can. It’s very disappointing, especially with their contract coming up.”

The announcement from Bombardier is the latest economic hit for Kansas. Thursday, Eyewitness News anchor and “Right Now” host Michael Schwanke sat down with Kansas Lt. Governor David Toland to discuss what’s being done to help Kansans impacted by layoffs and loss of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re focused on what the future looks like and specifically making sure that the 250 workers that are impacted by Bombardier’s decision get placed into new opportunities, and if they need training or skill development, we’re able to provide that quickly,” he said of the latest announcement concerning the aviation industry and its impact on Wichita and the state of Kansas.

While emphasizing the importance of supporting the aviation industry, Toland said diversifying the economy is also important when trying to attract companies to Kansas.

You can see the full interview with Toland below.

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