Bombardier Celebrates Learjet 45/65 Milestones

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Bombardier Aerospace last week said its Learjet program had reached two major milestones: delivery of the 300th Learjet 45 and the 300th Learjet 60 aircraft. In commemoration, Bombardier conducted the two delivery ceremonies at the same spot where Bill Lear designed and built the original some 44 years ago. The 300th Learjet 45 was delivered to a U.S.-based distributor of agricultural products while a Finnish company accepted the 300th Learjet 60. "Sixteen years ago, Bombardier made a commitment to invest in new Learjet aircraft programs. This twin delivery milestone is a testament to the wisdom of that vision and to the enduring popularity of the legendary Learjet business jet, said Mike Kanaley, vice-president and general manager, Learjet. Since acquiring Learjet Inc. in 1990, Bombardier has launched eight new Learjet models, the most recent being the Learjet 60 XR, which is currently in a comprehensive flight test and certification program.

Introduced in 2002, the model 45 XR is the latest iteration of a "small" Learjet. Launched in 1990, the Learjet 60 will soon be succeeded by the model 60 XR, which was announced at NBAA in 2005. A Learjet 60 XR prototype made a two-hour, 20-minute first flight on April 3, and is currently in a flight test and certification program. Certification of the flight deck by the FAA is expected in the third quarter of 2006, with certification by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency expected shortly thereafter. The first Learjet 60 XR aircraft is slated to enter service in the first quarter of 2007.