WICHITA — Bombardier’s Learjet facility here is seeking to take on outside work from third parties to diversify its business.                                                                       

It has also expanded its Wichita service center capabilities.

“We’re offering aerostructures and engineering and project management services externally,” said Ben Murrell, Bombardier Learjet business aircraft manager of business development.

First and foremost, however, “we’re still making airplanes at Learjet,” Murrell said.

Learjet was promoting its services at an exhibit at the Air Capital Aviation Expo here from Aug. 27-29. The Expo drew more than 70 area aviation-related companies as exhibitors.

Learjet can offer a number of capabilities, including tooling, fabrication and machining work, Murrell said during the event.

Taking on outside work is not new, he said. Years ago, the site built parts for Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and others. It built parts for solid rocket boosters, for example.Wichita is a multifaceted facility, said Anna Cristofaro, a Bombardier spokeswoman. “We’re always looking to leverage work at the Wichita site.”

The additional work will be welcome here.

In January, Bombardier officials announced it would “pause” its Learjet 85 midsize business jet program because of weak demand in the business jet market, and also lay off about 1,000 workers. That included 620 here and the rest at its Queretaro, Mexico, site.

The Wichita site delivered 14 Learjet business jets in the first six months of this year.

But taking on outside work is only a small portion of activities at the facility.

“Our focus remains on building Learjet aircraft and servicing the entire platform of Bombardier business jets,” Cristofaro said.

In the meantime, Learjet’s service center here has expanded and taken on more work.
It began servicing Global business jets earlier this year. It also expanded its services on Challenger business jets.

“We’re now servicing our entire platform of aircraft at the Wichita service center,” Cristofaro said.
Bombardier is committed to Wichita, she said.

“We’re committed to the continued success of not only the Learjet product family, but the Wichita site as well,” Cristofaro said.

Wichita’s flight-test center is currently flight testing Bombardier C Series aircraft. It will flight test the new Global 7000 business jet when it enters the flight-test program.