KSN investigates: Bombardier IRB agreement

Bombardier Learjet (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – KSN learned Tuesday that another wave of aviation layoffs will hit Wichita’s Bombardier Learjet.

Bombardier confirmed that 170 workers will be out of a job, as a result of delays in the new Lear 85 program. Of those, 100 permanent employees will be impacted, along with 70 contracted employees.

Company representatives confirm the cuts will effect production works, as well as top level engineers.

The layoffs were made public exactly one week after the Wichita City Council unanimously voted to provide Bombardier with $52.7 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds, with the promise of 450 jobs by 2018. KSN wanted to know if Wichita made a sound investment.

We analyzed the agreement established in the council agenda between Wichita and Bombardier. In that agreement, the company has to bring in a set number of jobs, however, it does not specify how many employees the company has to have to keep the taxpayer money.

Mayor Carl Brewer told KSN Wednesday that the agreement regarding jobs specifically was actually made with the state of Kansas, not the city of Wichita. Mayor Brewer also told KSN it is the difference between an entire company versus a select program.

When it comes to potential layoffs, KSN wants to know why doesn’t the Bombardier agreement have any “fine print?” KSN learned the Hawker-Beechcraft agreement did, and therefore, the city’s financial investment was covered.

Despite a lack of language in that agreement, the city and Mayor Brewer remain optimistic.

“Production will happen and it’s not uncommon,” Brewer said. “We’re going to be delayed and we’re just making a readjustment in our business model… The jobs are not permanently gone.”

Bombardier insists the layoffs are due to delays in launching the Learjet 85. Representatives tell KSN that once production continues as scheduled, some of those jobs will return to Wichita.

Extra Information:

The Learjet 85 project was launched in 2007. The Lear 85 is a midsize business jet.

Bombardier representatives report about 60 orders for the jet that is estimated to be priced at $17 million each.

Bombardier laying off 170 workers in Wichita
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Bombardier laying off 1,700

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