Blog

Learjet

End of an era: Vale the Learjet – long live the business jet

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.

The Learjet makes sense
Aviation Week – 5 July 1965

Learjet Legacy

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.

Learjet 31
Learjet 31

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.”

Celebrating the legend of the Learjet

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.

Learjet 45
Learjet 45

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.

Jensen & Copier, The Pros and Cons of Industry Consolidation, OEM Off-Highway, 31 Aug 2020

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.

Learjet 35A
Learjet 35A
Adelaide by private Jet

Fly to Cooma and Adelaide by private jet; new routes added to the SHARED program

After celebrating 300 members on our SHARED private jet membership the team have announced the addition of Adelaide and Cooma to the network.

Fly to Adelaide by private jet.

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.

Make the most of your Airly Private Jet Membership

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.

Fly to Cooma by private jet

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.

Falcon 2000LX in Sydney

Falcon 2000LX lands at Sydney

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.

Falcon 2000LX in Sydney

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.   

Falcon private jet cabin
Falcon 2000LX forward cabin

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.

The rear cabin
Rear club configuration

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 Flight Deck

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.

Shared private jet flight

Initiating your first shared private jet flight

Airly is Australia’s first private aviation startup that enables members to initiate or opt into a shared private jet flight for the price of business class.

If you’re unfamiliar with our private jet membership, click here to learn more.

This article is designed to be a short tutorial on how to initiate your first flight on our private jet app.

Shared private jet
Our VP of Membership & Experience, Lee, with the Phenom 300.

How to initiate your first shared private jet flight

Log into the Airly app, and scroll down to the ‘Travel in Style’ section. Select ‘SHARED FLIGHT’ and then tap the gold ‘Book a Flight’ button.

Shared private jet Step One

Next, select your departure and arrival airports. We’ll only show the airports available under the SHARED program here.

Shared private jet Step Two

Once your route is set it’s time to select a date. When you click the DD/MM/YYYY field you’ll be shown a calendar which may also have orange and green dots on particular days.

These dots indicate if there’s a pending (orange) or activated (green) SHARED flight already initiated on that particular day along with the price per person.

Shared private jet Step Three

Once you select the date, provide the number of passengers travelling and click ‘Search’.

Shared private jet Step Four

Next in view will be the flight initiation and results page.

Below the flight initiation window are a list of pending or activated SHARED flights that match your request on or around your dates.

If any of the existing flights don’t suit, go back to the top of the screen and click ‘Initiate now’.

Shared private jet Step Five

You’ll then be asked to provide a departure time. So enter that and click continue (remembering to stick with 24 hour format).

Shared private jet Step Six

Finally you will see a summary of the flight that will be initiated.

You can provide the preferred payment method before agreeing to the terms and selecting ‘Initiate’.

Shared private jet Step Seven

From here a flight will be initiated and other members will be notified and invited to opt in.

No payment will be made till the flight is activated.

Now is the time to sit back and let our app and member care team process your request and work to activate your flight.

If you wish to review the flight or share the details with other friends who are on Airly’s SHARED private jet membership you will find this pending flight under ‘My Trips’ tab.

If you’re unsure, just reach out to your member care team for advice.

Private Jet Etiquette

Private jet etiquette: From NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire

Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has weighed in on the private jet etiquette debate.

Private Jet Etiquette with Amar'e Stoudemire.
Amar’e Stoudemire via Instagram

Only known to those who fly private frequently, there’s an unofficial guide to etiquette when flying on a private jet.

Speaking recently with Bloomberg, the NBA legend detailed two of his tips, but we’ll add a couple more to make this article more informative.

Private jet etiquette Tip 1: Leave the red wine for later

The first tip Stoudemire brings up in the interview is around the consumption of wine onboard a private jet.

Most private jet cabins feature light-coloured seats and carpets and you don’t want to be that person spilling a nice Shiraz onto cream leather.

Amar’e suggests to stick with the whites or Rosé.

Tip 2: The host always boards the jet first

It can be quite exciting flying private for the first time.

But as you’re grabbing those selfies as you board, make sure you’re not pushing past your host to get on first.

Stoudemire believes the host should always board the private jet first in a sign of appreciation and perfect etiquette.

Private Jet Etiquette Boarding

Tip 3: Be punctual but not too early

This tip comes from our Member Care team.

One reason private jets are a preferred method of travel is the ability to adjust schedules and timings to suit.

You don’t fly private to sit in a lounge for 2 hours, you fly private to be able to grab a quick snack and be wheels up in ten minutes.

We suggest getting to your departure lounge location 15-20 minutes prior to departure.

Should you be running late, let your captain and/or member care specialist know as airport slots may need to be adjusted.

Tip 4: Know your (luggage) limits

Make sure you discuss luggage allowances with your member care specialist.

Some private jets we frequently use, like the Phenom 300E, can take a serious amount of luggage.

However, there are some jets that will struggle to fit multiple suitcases per person.

To avoid embarrassment and keep your experience smooth and seamless on the tarmac, simply reach out ahead of time and ensure what you will bring with you can fit.

Private Jet Etiquette Ask Questions

Tip 5: There are no stupid questions

Flying private can provide some of the most positive and memorable experiences.

But for those new to the industry, there may be questions you have but you may be too afraid to ask.

This tip is to promise to you that there are no stupid questions.

If you have a question, concern or comment do not hesitate to ask your member care team.

Did we miss any etiquette tips? Let us know via Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Private jet interior

Never miss a private jet empty leg

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.

Private jet interior

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.

escapes by private jet

Escapes by private jet – intrastate: Part One

Intrastate escapes by private jet is the stress-free way to travel in 2021.

Australia has been dubbed world class in its response to handling the COVID pandemic. Despite this, local outbreaks have seen borders slammed shut giving residents minimal time to get home.

In January Airly facilitated multiple last minute chartered flights to get residents home because of state border closures. These closures were implemented after a handful of cases.

Avoid the stress and anxiety, stay local.

Here are our team’s top intrastate escapes by private jet.

Queensland

Hamilton Island intrastate private jet escapes

Hamilton Island

The team have seen a surge in flights and private jet rental requests to Hamilton Island. Our members tend to stay at Qualia or the Reef View Hotel.

A private jet from Brisbane to Hamilton Island starts from $22,100* for a 4 seat light jet including a 3 night stay.

New South Wales

intrastate escapes by private jet

Byron Bay

The most popular destination for our members and charter clients has been Byron Bay. Our members tend to stay at Elements of Byron, if not their own holiday house.

A private jet from Sydney to Byron Bay starts from $11,500* for a 4 seat light jet including a single night stay.

snow escapes by private jet

NSW Snow Fields

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 escapes by private jet

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.

Victoria

victorian escapes by private jet

Port Fairy

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*.

snow escapes by private jet

Mount Hotham

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*.

To book your intrastate escape connect with Member Care via our private jet app, WhatsApp or via SMS.

* indicative pricing only subject to availability,

private jet membership

Airly’s private jet membership surpasses 300 members

Airly is proud to announce more than 300 members have now joined our SHARED program. This program is Australia’s first and only private jet membership.

private jet membership

About Airly’s private jet membership

Launched in 2019 the SHARED program enables members to initiate or opt into shared flights onboard private jets for the cost of business class.

Members are free to initiate the flights they need via the Airly private jet app at no cost. Once a flight is initiated the alert goes out to others on the SHARED program and invites them to opt in.

Routes along the SHARED network include Sydney – Melbourne, Sydney – Ballina / Byron Bay and Sydney – Gold Coast.

With ongoing border instability we’ll be launching new seasonal routes in the future including Sydney – Cooma, Melbourne – Mount Hotham and Brisbane – Hamilton Island.

private jet app

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.

Pet on private jet

Another edition of pooches on private jets

Nothing beats private jets and pets.

During our bumper December we’ve been fortunate enough to take care of more Very Important Puppies including Chip.

Chip the Chihuahua climbed onboard the 2019 Phenom 300 flying by private jet from Sydney to Byron Bay.

And we must say, Chip took the experience in his stride looking very calm, even taking a nap on the short 1 hour flight.

Thanks to Airly members Michael and Jessy for sending the pic through.

Did you know that pets can fly on private jets? Read our recent article Can pets fly on private jets?

Click here to book a private jet via the Airly app.

private-jet-bookings

Phenom 300 most popular private jet for December

Having increased bookings in November by 100%, the team at Airly continued this strong performance in December.

We increased our private jet bookings by 300% in December for a total of 31 trips with our operating partners.

Nearly 40% of our flights were operated by the Phenom 300 showing how popular the light jet is.

January is on track to look very much the same with 14 trips booked in already (half of which are on the Phenom 300).

Here’s to a transformational year.

Not just for Fly Airly, but the entire Airly Group.

Stay tuned.