For half a century the private jet of choice for the rich and famous, the Learjet will be no more from the end of 2021. Bombardier, Learjet’s Canadian owner, has announced that it will cease production of the iconic aircraft from the end of this year.
The reason Bombardier gave for bringing 60 years of production to an end? It’s not fancy enough for today’s celebs and business moguls, who prefer other manufacturers, notably Beechcraft and Cessna (both made by Textron Aviation), Gulfstream (who make the G650), Dassault and Embraer. The news saw an 11 per dent drop in Bombardier shares on the Toronto stock exchange, while the end of the Learjet will cost a total of 1,600 jobs across the US and Canada.
The Learjet was created by American engineer William Lear (who also invented the car radio), with the first plane taking to the skies in 1963. The Learjet quickly became synonymous with the lifestyles of the rich and famous – Frank Sinatra was regularly photographed getting on one, and in 1967 he famously lent his plane to Elvis Presley so that he could get to the church on time to marry Priscilla.
A few years later, Carly Simon sang, “You flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia, to see the total eclipse of the sun” in You’re So Vain, which was allegedly about Warren Beatty.