Bombardier Cancels $1.5 Billion Learjet Order

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What was billed as one of the biggest business jet orders ever when it was announced almost a year ago has now become one of the biggest business jet order cancellations ever. Bombardier confirmed last week that it had terminated a $1.5 billion order for 110 Learjet 60 XR aircraft from European fractional and on-demand charter operator Jet Republic. The announcement came on the heels of Jet Republic CEO Jonathan Breeze's memo to staff that the company was "technically insolvent." Some analysts are saying the cancellation could result in layoffs at the Learjet plant in Wichita as Bombardier grapples with cancellations and deferrals in all aspects of its aerospace operations.

Although some questioned Breeze's ambitious plans announced as the depths of the world financial crisis were just coming to light in September of last year, the energetic former military pilot was all optimism about the timing of the venture. "This is a sensible, profitable, logical business," he told The Times Online last September. "I think the challenge in the financial markets simply changes the metrics ... If anything it probably strengthens the proposition." Reality bit hard, however, and Breeze broke the news last Wednesday. "It is with great regret that I announce that Jet Republic appears to be technically insolvent," Breeze said in an internal memo. "We will place no more orders with suppliers; we will accept no more revenue from customers; we will solicit no more business from potential customers."