The halt in planned production has been put down to weak demand for the aircraft and follows a downward revision of Bombardier’s business aircraft market forecast.
The light aircraft category has continued to weaken since the economic downturn, and as a result the company will record a pre-tax special charge in the fourth quarter of 2014 of around $1.4 billion mainly relating to the impairment of the Learjet 85 development costs.
Additionally, Bombardier will reduce its workforce by approximately 1,000 employees at its sites in Querétaro, Mexico, and Wichita, United States. A severance provision of approximately $25 million will be recorded as a special item during the first quarter of 2015.
The Learjet 85 program was launched back in October of 2007 with a mockup of the aircraft unveiled at the NBAA show in Orlando a year later. The aircraft fits between the midsize and the super midsize segment of the market, and was to feature a composite structure.
Pierre Beaudoin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier said;
Bombardier constantly monitors its product strategy and development priorities. Given the weakness of the market, we made the difficult decision to pause the Learjet 85 program at this time. We will focus our resources on our two other clean-sheet aircraft programs under development, CSeries and Global 7000/8000, for which we see tremendous market potential. Both programs are progressing well.
Bombardier’s Wichita and Querétaro sites will remain critical facilities in key markets. Wichita is a multifaceted facility and is the location of final assembly activities for the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft, the Bombardier Flight Test Centre as well as a Service Centre. In addition to contributing to many of Bombardier’s aircraft programs, the Querétaro site recently completed its Global 7000/8000 aft fuselage manufacturing building.