The daddy of business aviation, the Learjet, celebrated its 40th anniversary at the show yesterday with a gift for its owners.

Since its first flight in 1963, the aircraft has become an enduring symbol of the luxury of executive travel. Some 2,300 Learjets have been delivered worldwide.

In 1976, the first Middle East delivery was made to Arab Wings. Fifteen Learjets are now in operation in the region.

Earlier this week at the show, Bombardier – which bought Learjet in 1990 – unveiled the latest addition to the family, the super-light Learjet 45XR.

At a birthday reception, Bombardier Aerospace president Peter Edwards praised the vision of William Powell Lear, the inventor and entrepreneur who gave his name to the personal jet – the Learjet 23 – that he developed based on the Swiss P-16 fighter.

And there was a birthday present for Learjet owners: yesterday Bombardier announced that it will cover aircraft management costs for the first year.

Mike Fahey, regional vice-president sales Middle East and Africa, said: "We're delighted to team with ExecuJet Middle East to offer this exciting programme which effectively makes it easier to own and operate a Bombardier Learjet aircraft than ever before. This offers represents a significant cost saving to new operators."

Source: Flight Daily News