Canadian Manufacturing

Bombardier suspending Learjet 85 program, cutting 1,000 jobs

Montreal-based transportation giant said layoffs planned at Wichita, Kansas, Queretaro, Mexico, plants

MONTREAL—Bombardier Inc. has halted production of its Learjet 85 business aircraft due to weak global demand, affecting about 1,000 jobs in the United States and Mexico.

“Continued weakness” in demand for light aircraft since the recession has forced the Montreal-based firm to suspend the program, impacting jobs at its plants in Wichita, Kansas, and Queretaro, Mexico.

The company expects a pre-tax charge of about $1.4 billion related to the decision to be recorded in its fourth-quarter 2014 financial results, and another $25 million in the first quarter of 2015 related to severance.

“Bombardier constantly monitors its product strategy and development priorities,” president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin said in a statement. “Given the weakness of the market, we made the difficult decision to pause the Learjet 85 program at this time.”

Beaudoin said the company’s aerospace division will focus its resources on the new CSeries passenger and Global business aircraft program, which Bombardier sees “tremendous market potential” for.

The company said both its Wichita and Queretaro operations “remain critical facilities in key markets.”

The plant in Wichita, which employs about 3,000 people, is also home to final assembly of Bombardier’s smaller Learjet 70 and 75 aircraft, while the Queretaro site is home to fuselage manufacturing from the Global 7000 and 8000 aircraft.

Bombardier didn’t say how many employees would be affected at each site.

This marks the second time in six months Bombardier announced layoffs, with the company announcing plans to slash 1,800 positions in July 2014.

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