Learjet To Expand Wichita Site And Workforce


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Learjet To Expand Wichita Site And Workforce

By Steve Hall

January 13, 2012 - Sam Brownback, Kansas Governor, and Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft, on Tuesday announced the details of the further expansion of Bombardier's Learjet site in Wichita.

The growth of the site includes the expansion of the Bombardier Flight Test Center, the establishment of a Bombardier Center of Excellence of Engineering and Information Technology, new facilities for paint and production flight test as well as a new delivery center. The expansion will also help create 450 new jobs over the course of seven to 10 years.

"This is great news and indicates the strength of our relationship with the State of Kansas," said Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. "Learjet has a rich and solid history in Kansas and we are committed to ensuring that it continues to grow and prosper along with new programs such as the Learjet 85 aircraft."

This expansion is being supported by an incentive offer worth $16 million in financial support from the State of Kansas, which will be added to the $600 million investment Bombardier is currently making to develop the Learjet 85 midsize jet and to expand Learjet's Wichita facility.

Bombardier Aerospace continues to invest in both current production Learjet aircraft as well as innovative products such as the all new Learjet 85 midsize jet. Launched on October 30, 2007, the Learjet 85 aircraft is on schedule for entry into service in 2013.

The Learjet 85 is the latest Learjet development program, a mockup of the aircraft was unveiled in October 2008 at the NBAA show in Orlando. The Learjet 85 fits between the midsize and the super midsize segments of the market. It will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet to feature a composite structure and will be Learjet's first composite structure business jet designed for type certification under FAR-25. The plane is expected to have a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 and a transcontinental range of up to 3,000 nautical miles.

"This great day for Wichita and Kansas highlights the strength and vibrancy of the Air Capital of the World," said Governor Sam Brownback. "Our workforce, supplier base, infrastructure, research and development and aviation training assets are second to none and today's announcement says that loud and clear. We value the strong commitment of Bombardier to Kansas and treasure this long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, which will lead to further opportunities and growth."

Computer software design tools were used on the project, including CATIA and HyperSizer, and similar wing technology employed as on the Bombardier CSeries. Bombardier reports it has close to 60 Learjet 85s on order at a price of $17.2 million. Flexjet announced it would be the initial launch customer.

On October 21, 2010, Bombardier opened a Learjet 85 aircraft component manufacturing facility in Quer?taro, Mexico. The plant was inaugurated by President Felipe Calder?n. Some parts of the wing will be manufactured in Belfast in Northern Ireland. 

Learjet is a manufacturer of business jets for civilian and military use. It was founded in the late 1950s by William Powell Lear as Swiss American Aviation Corporation. Learjet is now a subsidiary of Bombardier and marketed as the "Bombardier Learjet Family".

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