They said I’d never build it; that if I built it, it wouldn’t fly; that if it flew, I couldn’t sell it. Well I did and it did and I could.
William P. Lear, founder of the LearJet Corporation, and designed of arguably the world’s first business jet.
On February 11, 2021, Bombardier, who purchased the Learjet company in 1990, announced an end to production of all Learjet private jets. This marks a sad milestone for aviation, for it heralds the end of an era. For decades, since the company’s first aircraft, the Learjet 23, the name Learjet was synonymous with private aviation, business aviation, and aviation leadership.
While the Learjet name may be consigned to history, fortunately business and private aviation manufacturing, innovations, and business models continue to thrive.
History of Lear Jet
The first Learjet 23 was delivered in 1964. It was the brainchild of inventor, businessman, and high-school drop out William (Bill) Lear. Over 46 years Lear was granted over 120 patents, contributing significantly to radio and aviation. He is, however, best known for creating a new category of fast and efficient business jets, and a brand that to many is the definition of a business jet. Before Lear Jet there simply was no business or private jet category – VIPs, states-persons, and celebrities that could afford to fly privately were limited to airliner-type aircraft.
The Learjet 23’s genesis began in Switzerland in the 1940s, where the Flug- und Fahrzeugwehrke Altenrhein (FFA) company was developing a domestically designed and manufactured fighter jet – the FFA P-16. The P-16 was never introduced into service and the program cancelled in favour of the proven British Hawker Hunter – but Bill Lear saw promise in the aircraft’s fundamental design as a business jet, having previously and unsuccessfully based preliminary designs on a US experimental named the Mississippi State University XV-11 Marvel.
In 1960 Lear founded the Swiss American Aircraft Corporation in Switzerland and began work on the initially-named SAAC-23 Execujet. In 1962, frustrated by slow progress in Switzerland, Lear moved SAAC’s factory tooling to Wichita, Kansas and renamed the company the Lear Jet Corporation. Production began in 1962 with the first flight of the Learjet 23 taking placing the following year. On October 13, 1964, the first production aircraft was delivered and over a two year production run, 101 Learjet 23s were delivered.
Fast forward 25 years, and it was the Learjet 31 that ultimately delivered on Lear’s vision of the definitive business jet.
Only 200 Learjet 31s were produced between 1988 and 2002, with many of these still in service. Often referred to as “the Porsche of the sky,” the 31 combines the empennage-mounted engine design with the distinctive “Longhorn” wing configuration. With seating for eight passengers, the jet is capable of climbing at over 5,000 feet per minute, reaching cruise altitude of 47,000 feet and 0.81 March in 28 minutes. A service ceiling of 51,000 feet puts the Learjet 31 in rarefied air. With efficient fuel consumption and field performance, both the Learjet 31 and the slightly upgraded 31A are still favoured by many passengers and operators today.
Having sold a significant portion of his company to the Gates Rubber Company in 1967, the Gates Learjet Corporation was acquired by Integrated Acquisition in 1987 and renamed the Learjet Corporation. In 1990, Bombardier Aerospace purchased the company and initiated a clean-sheet design and marketing of the “Bombardier Learjet Family.”
The Learjet 60 was the first of this new lineage, followed by the Learjet 45. Similar to how the 31 revolutionised business aviation, the Learjet 45 fused the operating economics of a light business jet with the comfort of a mid-size jet, while remaining true to Learjet’s excellent performance. The Learjet 75 is the final jet to bear the Learjet name, with first delivery having taken place in 2013 and production ceasing this year.
The future of business aviation
The end of the Learjet marque is nostalgic, but should not be seen as a bellwether for the business aviation industry. For several decades, the business and private aerospace industry has been increasingly fragmenting – offering a relatively small pool of consumers an excessive amount of aircraft options. By comparison, the commercial aviation sector has consolidated to effectively two manufacturers – Airbus and Boeing. The private jet industry has several – Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, and even Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets. For reference, Airbus and Boeing delivered 723 aircraft in 2020, while global business jet deliveries numbered 644.
Consolidation is a natural part of the evolution of any industry as technologies advance and market expectations grow.
The business aviation industry is likely behind commercial aerospace in terms of industry consolidation maturity. A Deloitte 2017 analysis of the merger and acquisition trends in aerospace and defense anticipated (generally) that “aerospace and defense companies would increasingly look to M&A (and joint ventures) as a means to grow, specifically by expanding product portfolios, gaining new technical capabilities, and expanding into new geographies.”
This industry consolidation is good for operators, owners, and travelers, in bringing cost efficiencies and technological advances together. Competition is healthy, and we can expect there to remain a handful of business jet manufacturers; but some consolidation in a high-capital, regulatory intensive, and difficult to enter industry is beneficial for all.
While the brand may not be seen on aircraft beyond this year, over fifty years of Learjet’s innovations and progress will continue to serve Bombardier’s business aircraft competitive advantage, and deliver value to operators and travelers.
The changes come along with price increases to the entire network. These were necessary to help combat rising costs, less-predictable demand and to help activate more private jet flights in a shared environment.
Fly to Adelaide by private jet
As a result of the changes we have included Adelaide and Cooma as new destinations.
Adelaide will be accessible from Melbourne and Sydney airports.
Cooma will be a seasonal option from Sydney perfect for Winter.
To take advantage of these changes you need to be part of Airly’s SHARED program.
First of all download and register the Airly private jet app. Then you can apply for membership.
Dassault Aviation’s philosophy behind their successful Falcon range is simple – to enable business aviation. In this article we take a look at the Falcon 2000LX.
That is, Dassault’s vision is to help others realise the benefits of business aviation, such as corporate development and growth, as well as traveling flexibility. Having delivered over 2,500 Falcons, Dassault have been a market leader in the wide cabin, long range aircraft segment for over 50 years. Additionally, through Dassault Aviation’s Defense business, the Falcon jet range benefit from the advanced technological innovations developed for combat aircraft, including cockpit systems, digital flight control systems, head-up displays, flight qualities, and aerodynamics.
History of the Falcon 2000
The Falcon 2000, certified in 1994, introduced several features that progressed the private jet beyond its tri-engined predecessor, the Falcon 900, and set the Falcon family on its successful trajectory to an industry leading marque. A decade later and the Falcon 2000LX improved on the 2000’s features through modified wings and blended winglets, improving climb performance and range.
Falcon 2000LX touches down in Sydney
Last week, a newly Australian-registered Falcon 2000LX landed at Sydney Airport. From a comfort perspective the LX’s 6.1 ft tall, 7.7 ft wide, and 26.3 ft long cabin is spacious, light, and well-appointed for its extended range capability. Although the aircraft is designed to hold up to 19 passengers, the newly arrived one is luxuriously configured for eight passengers with the cabin arranged in two distinct areas of a forward double club arrangement, and the rear with four-person conference table plus a two-person lounge available once the seat belt sign is extinguished. Two of the forward area seats can fold down, allowing comfortable lie-flat napping. The windows are large, filling the cabin with natural light, and the forward seating area offers in-seat audio-visual facilities. A comprehensive galley, stand-up lavatory, and 134 cubic feet of accessible baggage space round out the long-range comforts of the Falcon 2000LX.
From a performance perspective the sharp looking winglets make an incredible difference over the standard 2000. Although the LX has the same airfoil and wingspan of the Falcon EX, the winglets increase the LX’s range by 200 nautical miles to over 4,000 nautical miles with eight passengers. From Sydney Airport, this range grants access to destinations from New Zealand across to much of South East Asia. The winglets also help the jet climb to FL410 in just 18 minutes, powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW308C engines that provide slightly more thrust and performance than the 2000, and provide the jet with a cruise speed of 482 knots at 39,000 feet.
A pilot’s delight
The elegant and modern dual-crew cockpit employs the functional and simple Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 fully-integrated avionics suite, centred around the Honeywell EASy Avionics panel, and four large flat panel display screens. The aircraft comes standard with an Allied Signal Flight Management System, Collins Doppler weather radar, and a dual channel Integrated Avionics Processor System.
The Falcon 2000LX embodies the benefits of business aviation through its understated performance, and inherent flexibility. But perhaps most notably, it exemplifies Marcel Dassault’s famous quote, “for an aircraft to fly well, it must be beautiful.”
And now, it is available to Airly members and charter clients.
If you signed up to the Airly private jet app chasing a discounted one-way flight you may be missing out, for one of two reasons.
The first reason is because someone booked the one-way before we got a chance to promote it.
The other, and more likely reason, is because you weren’t notified by the app.
The app looks for those who have searched a particular route, and also looks for the user’s home airport. If your home airport matches the flight’s arriving or departing airport you’ll receive a notification.
But we need to know where your home airport is, so this article will explain how to set your home airport in several taps.
How to set your home airport on the Airly app
First of all, log into the app, then tap ‘Account’.
Next tap settings.
Then tap update profile.
Here you can keep your details up to date. But for this demonstration let’s update your home airport.
You’ll be invited to start typing your home airport, or IATA code (e.g. SYD for Sydney’s Mascot Airport, or BWU for Bankstown). Begin typing and you’ll see the available options. Click the preferred airport then select ‘Save changes at the bottom’.
And you’re done!
Although you may be inclined to choose the closest airport to you, try to locate the closest major airport.
If, for example, you lived close to Parafield Airport in Adelaide we’d recommend selecting Adelaide Airport is there is a greater likelihood a private jet would fly into Adelaide (ADL) instead of the smaller Parafield.
If you’re unsure, just reach out to your member care team for advice.
Winter is coming and the snow resorts are preparing for a bumper 2021 snow season.
Members tend to stay at Rockpool Lodge at Thredbo but there are other great accommodation options at both Thredbo and Perisher.
The best way to get to the NSW snow fields is to fly by private jet to Cooma and your member care team will be able to facilitate a seamless transfer to the resort. A 4 seat light jet to Cooma starts from $10,120* including a single night stay.
NSW Far South Coast
Towns such as Merimbula, Tathra (pictured), Bermagui and Narooma can provide a more quaint escape compared to Byron Bay.
Accommodation is plentiful with our pick being Coast Resort in Merimbula.
The far south coast can be accessed via Moruya or Merimbula Airports with prices starting from $10,120* for a 4 seat light jet including a single night stay.
Port Fairy is a quiet village on the Great Ocean Road with stunning Air BnB’s, beautiful beaches, a historic port and growing food and arts scene.
It’s a little left field, but we find Port Fairy an incredible spot to recharge.
Port Fairy can be accessed via Warrnambool Airport with a 4 seat light jet priced from $7,500*.
Much like the NSW snow fields, the Victorian snow fields should also see a bumper year with travellers staying local this snow season.
Our members prefer to stay at Zirkys Mount Hotham. A 4 seat light jet would be priced from $5,000* same-day return or stay as long as you like from $8,950*.
With ongoing border instability we’ll be launching new seasonal routes in the future including Sydney – Cooma, Melbourne – Mount Hotham and Brisbane – Hamilton Island.
The perks of the SHARED program are best described by Lee Teirney, one of our first SHARED members, who loved the concept so much he joined the team in 2020 as VP of Membership and Experience.
As an Airly member having access to shared flights meant that I could have the convenience of flying private for a fraction of the cost, and non of the hassle of a crowded Airport. Also having the opportunity to meet a wide range of like minded people.
Lee Teirney – SHARED member and now VP Membership & Experience
We’re thrilled to be working on a new product that will completely revolutionise private jet charter. The introduction of this new product will also have benefits for members on the SHARED program as well.
After facilitating 11 flights in 2020 we want to see more members initiating flights, and most importantly, activate at least 4 SHARED flights per month.
To learn more about our SHARED program click here.