Bombardier has launched the Learjet 75 Liberty – a "rescoped" version of its light jet that trims accommodation and options to bring the list price below the crucial $10 million mark.
Removal of two seats from the usually eight-passenger aircraft allows installation of a pair of "executive suites" at the front of the 6m (19ft 10in)-long cabin, with ottoman footrests folding out from the partition in front, as well as four seats in a club configuration further aft.
To be available from 2020, Bombardier believes the changes – plus the retention of the twinjet's US Federal Aviation Administration Part 25 certification – will allow the Learjet 75 to compete against rivals like the Cessna Citation CJ3+ and Embraer Phenom 300E.
Both those competitor aircraft retail at under $10 million – well below the $13 million-plus list price for the Learjet 75 – but are only certificated to the lower Part 23 standard.
In addition, the changes increase the Learjet 75's maximum zero-fuel weight to 7,480kg (16,500lb), up from 7,260kg previously, and maximum payload rises to 1,320kg, from 957kg.
Range also grows by 40nm (74km), to 2,080nm, compared with 1,970nm for the Phenom 300E and 2,040nm for Citation CJ3+.
Previously standard features now made optional include the auxiliary power unit and lavatory sink, says Bombardier; an eight-passenger layout will also remain available, although this trims range to 2,040nm.
Deliveries will begin next year, although the airframer is staying tight-lipped over the identity of any launch customer.
Bombardier has for several years identified the high price of the Learjet 70/75 relative to the competition as a cause of its slow sales, with output currently at one aircraft per month.
Although declining to detail the orderbook for the type, Bombardier says it is seeing "healthy [sales] activity" for the twinjet, with "a fairly balanced backlog". It denies that a successful uptake of the revamp is "make or break" for the Witchita, Kansas-built Learjet line, however.
No changes to the Learjet 75's Honeywell TFE731-40BR engines are required for the Liberty variant, and the previously announced addition of a bespoke version of the Garmin G5000 flightdeck is still proceeding.
Having recently disposed of the Q400 twin-turboprop airliner and agreed a sale of the CRJ regional jet family, Bombardier has hitched its aviation strategy to the business jet market.