Goodbye to a symbol of luxury: Learjet production to end later this year

Bombardier will stop making the Learjet later this year to focus on more profitable planes.

The decision means the loss of 1,600 jobs in Canada and the US at a time when both aviation and aircraft manufacturing are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Canada will bear the brunt of the losses, with at least 700 of those jobs in Quebec and 100 in Ontario.

Canadian firm Bombardier said it will continue to support the existing Learjet fleet, but its attention would shift to the more lucrative Challenger and Global aircraft, along with its services business.

The news came as the company reported an adjusted loss before interest and taxes of $165m (£119m) for the quarter ending 31 December, compared with a profit of $168m (£122m) a year earlier.

It hopes the cuts will generate $400m in savings by 2023.

The aviation industry has been hit by travel restrictions and a fall in journeys due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic, which began to affect the industry in the early months of last year.

Bombardier chief executive Eric Martel said the “reductions are absolutely necessary for us to rebuild our company while we continue to navigate through the pandemic”.

He added: “The pandemic has also brought new attention and customers to private air travel and the enhanced safety it provides.

“Nevertheless, we expect that a full market recovery will take several years.

“This harsh market reality, combined with the higher than expected debt load we are carrying due to the pandemic, requires immediate action in the coming months.”

It is a sad end for the Learjet, the private luxury plane that became a major part of the lifestyles of the rich and famous after it first flew in 1963.

More than 3,000 were made, but in recent years production was around just one a month.

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for Teal Group, said: “It was sleek and it had almost a fighter-jet pedigree.

“For its time it symbolised personal executive transportation.”

It was also part of pop culture – appearing in Carly Simon’s 1971 hit You’re So Vain and in the TV show Mad Men.

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