Learjet 85 program is officially dead

Learjet 85 (Courtesy: Bombardier)


WICHITA, Kansas – It’s gone, but at what cost? The Bombardier company made it official today, the Learjet 85 is gone.

“On October 28, 2015, due to the lack of sales following the prolonged market weakness, Bombardier cancelled theLearjet 85¬†aircraft program,” said a company statement from Bombardier-Learjet on Thursday.

The Learjet 85 line was supposed to be the wave of the future for the company. It was all-composite materials and faster with a longer range than most of the Learjet line.

KSN asked the city if it would be asking for any money back in incentives given to the company. Economic Development Analysts Tim Goodpasture responded.

“In 2011, Learjet approached the City and County proposing a new seven-year program that would see the company invest a minimum of $48,700,000 and create 450 net new jobs, exclusive of the L85 program,” said Goodpasture. “The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County entered into a grant agreement with Learjet in November 2011 whereby the City and County each pledged $1,000,000 to assist Learjet in achieving a matching grant from the Economic Development Administration.”

City council members say they will look at the number of jobs Bombardier-Learjet is keeping in Wichita.

The company announced back in January of this year it would be laying off about 1,000 employees throughout the company while it “paused” the Learjet 85 program.

About 600 of those jobs were to be eliminated in Wichita. The rest of the jobs were expected to be cut from a parts manufacturing facility in Mexico that was to supply the Learjet 85 program.

“We certainly hope there are no more jobs cut in Wichita but, as always, we as a city will be watching closely,” said City Council member James Clendenin. “If Bombardier does not meet the requirements of the contract, of course we always look at what the responsibilities are of all the parties at that point.”

The company contract signed in 2011 shows Bombardier-Learjet promised to bring in at least 450 jobs and keep the jobs here for at least seven years.

 

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