Bombardier has announced that it would stop production of Learjet aircraft later this year. The manufacturer of the business jets said that the decision has been taken so that it can shift focus on more profitable planes. The decision also means that it will also lay off employees. The company said that it will cut 1,600 jobs in the United States and Canada. This will be another blow to the aircraft manufacturing industry which has already been hit hard by the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. The iconic jet has become synonymous with the lifestyles of billionaires. It was among the first private luxury planes. William Lear had designed it and the first Learjet took off in 1963. So far, the company has built more than 3,000 jets.
The production of the Learjet had slowed down in the recent past. Lately, the company was producing just one jet in a month. The latest decision was foreshadowed way back in 2015 when Montreal-based Bombardier halted the production of all new Learjet 85 citing weak demand. According to experts, the decision to end the production was accelerated because of the global pandemic. The company has said that it would continue to support existing fleet of Learjet and they will fly for many more years.
Stating that job cuts are always difficult, CEO Eric Martel said that these layoffs are absolutely necessary for the company as we are going through the pandemic. Most of the projected job cuts will be in Canada where around 700 employees will be affected by the decision. About 700 job cuts will take place in Quebec and around 100in Quebec. Another 250 employees will lose jobs in Wichita in 2021 and 2022. Around 100 job cuts will take place around the rest of the United States. The decision comes at a time when the travel industry is already facing a lot of trouble with a decline in a number of passengers because of restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.