Bombardier plans to further reduce the production rate for the Learjet 75 this year to keep pace with market demand, the company announced during a 16 February earnings call.
The super-light business jet that debuted in 2013 reached a peak of 33 deliveries a year later. Shipments declined to 32 in 2015 and 24 in 2016.
The rate will fall again in 2017, but Bombardier did not disclose the precise number in the financial filings.
Bombardier has orders for 10 Learjet 75s in the backlog entering 2017. After delivering only 13 Learjet 75s through the first nine months of 2016, Bombardier finished strong in the fourth quarter with 11 more deliveries.
In December, Bombardier released financial guidance for 2017 that included a projected 150 overall business jet deliveries, including Learjets, Challengers and Globals.
In financial filings released two months later, the company revised that projection down to 135 deliveries, blaming the reduction “mainly” on a production rate reset for the Learjet 75. “I feel that we have production rates of all of our product lines pretty much in line with market demand,” says Bombardier’s president and chief executive officer Allan Bellemare. “If there’s an upside potential, we have the flexibility in our system to respond to that.”
Any further reduction makes Bombardier’s Learjet assembly operations in Wichita, Kansas, even more precarious. After cancelling the Learjet 85 programme last year and recording the last delivery of a Learjet 60XR in 2015, the Learjet 75 remains the only product still in active manufacturing in Wichita.
Since entering service seven years ago, Embraer’s Phenom 300 has dominated the market segment occupied by the Learjet 75, becoming the single most popular aircraft in the entire business jet market, in terms of deliveries.