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Bombardier cancels Learjet 85 with $2.6bn loss

Bombardier has formally cancelled the Learjet 85 programme with a $1.2 billion write-down 10 months after placing the programme on an indefinite pause, citing market weakness in the midsize segment for business jets.

The decision announced on 29 October raises Bombardier’s overall loss on the composite-skinned Learjet 85 to $2.6 billion. It also leaves the Wichita, Kansas-based Learjet division with no new products in development.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare says he remains committed to the Learjet family of light and super-light business jets, but also does not rule out further changes within the airframer's overall portfolio.

“We will continue to look at how we further optimise the business. It’s never finished,” Bellemare says.

The Learjet 85 was supposed to enter service in 2012, but was delayed by more than two years before Bombardier announced the programme would be “paused” earlier this year.

In 2013, Bombardier executives acknowledged unspecified issues with certificating the composite structure of the aircraft, but clarified these had been resolved with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Bellemare blames the programme’s delays on an “overwhelmed” company attempting to manage three new clean-sheet aircraft developments, along with several upgrade projects for existing aircraft.

Bombardier also introduced the re-engined and updated Learjet 70 and 75 models last year, which remain the business aviation division’s only products in active production.

Meanwhile, Bombardier has installed the first GE Aviation Passport engines on the Global 7000 business jet, which is being prepared to enter flight test. A ground testing rig has been commissioned to validate the flight control software and systems needed to begin the flight-test campaign.

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