Bombardier Takes Go-slow Approach to Learjet 85 Program

 - November 4, 2014, 6:00 PM
The Learjet 85 prototype on the ramp at the NBAA Convention.

Though the Learjet 85 prototype made its public debut at the NBAA Convention two weeks ago and has logged more than 100 hours over 60 flights since its maiden flight in April, Bombardier is still hesitating to pin down an entry-into-service (EIS) date for the all-composite midsize business jet. On Thursday, company president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin made it clear that the new Learjet is the company’s lowest priority at its flight-test department, behind the CSeries airliner and Global 7000 and 8000 ultra-long-range business jets.

“We have to give our flight-test department some priorities. And the first two would be the CSeries and Global 7000 and 8000,” Beaudoin said. “As far as the Learjet 85, we want this aircraft on the market as soon as possible. But we have to manage priorities within our flight-test program because, unfortunately, they’re all at the same time.” The CSeries has been flying since last year; the Global 7000 is slated to fly next year, followed by the 8000 in 2016.

After Beaudoin’s remarks, J.P. Morgan North American Equity research pushed out its projection for the first Learjet 85 delivery by two quarters, to mid-2017, though it added, “There is no target EIS date and it could slip further.”