Lear Celebrates 3000th Sale

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Although there’s been a death watch over Learjet for a year or more, the Bombardier subsidiary had cause for celebration last week. The iconic bizjet brand sold its 3,000th aircraft on June 2 and it coincidentally happened to be the 100th Learjet 75 produced by the Wichita plant. The aircraft was handed over to Leggett and Platt, a Missouri furniture manufacturer. It’s the company’s second Learjet 75. The event was attended by 1,300 people, most of them employees, with a smattering of local celebrities and Learjet founder Bill Lear’s daughter-in-law Brenda Lear. “I think what’s touched me today the most is to see the outpouring of people that wanted to be here when they heard about this event coming,” said David Coleal, Bombardier Business Aircraft president. “It really shows … the passion and the pride that this iconic brand instills in all of us every day.”

The company most associated with the founding of the business jet sector began in Wichita in 1963 and was purchased by Bombardier in 1990. The Canadian company introduced four new models in the intervening 27 years but there are fears the 75 will be the last. Bombardier canceled the mostly composite Learjet 85 program last year because of tight finances and sales of the other models have dropped in recent years, leading analysts to believe the brand may be doomed. Coleal didn’t directly address that issue in his remarks. “The Wichita site has become a key pillar in Bombardier’s future,” Coleal said. “The site has diversified and expanded, and truly represents what makes Bombardier exceptional. With all that said, our roots will always remain with Learjet.”

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