The Learjet 85 program, already years behind the original schedule, is likely to be pushed out farther to the right as Bombardier Aerospace gives higher priority to the CSeries and Global 7000/8000, say industry watchers. The Learjet 85 is currently the only one of these in active flight test, as CSeries flying was halted in late May due to an engine issue and the Global 7000 and 8000 won’t fly until early next year and 2016, respectively.
Once the CSeries resumes flight-testing “in the coming weeks” and Global 7000 flying gets under way next year, “Managing three flight-test programs will be challenging and…given the volume of testing, the Learjet 85 seems most likely to us to be pushed out,” noted J.P. Morgan aerospace analyst Joseph Nadol III. “The CSeries is the highest profile program at Bombardier, while the Global 7000/8000 have higher-margin opportunity.”
Business aviation consultant Rolland Vincent “absolutely agrees” that the Learjet 85 is the lowest priority aircraft program at Bombardier. His latest forecast predicts that the Learjet 85 won’t enter service until at least 2017, some three years later than Bombardier’s previous mid-2014 certification estimate.
Bombardier has thus far declined to provide an updated schedule for the Learjet 85. Asked recently about the midsize jet’s entry-into-service date, Bombardier president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin answered, “We are currently evaluating all of our priorities for our flight-test programs.”