Bombardier announced Jan. 15 that it is pausing its long-delayed Learjet 85 jet program because of weak market demand for the aircraft and a downward revision in the company’s market forecast. As a result, Bombardier will reduce its workforce by about 1,000 employees in Wichita and Queretaro, Mexico. The move reflects continued weakness in the light aircraft category, the company said. With continued delays, analysts had questioned the program’s fate. “When we say ‘pause,’ we mean ‘pause,’” Bombardier President and CEO Pierre Beaudoin said. The company has been following the market since the economic downturn that began in late 2008. It does not see the market picking up at the rate it had anticipated, Beaudoin said. It is time to take a pause, see how the market behaves, and then bring the Learjet 85 to market when the time is right, he said. As a result of the move, Bombardier will take a pre-tax special charge in the fourth quarter of about $1.4 billion related to the Learjet 85 program, mainly linked to the tooling and development costs of the aircraft, Beaudoin said on a conference call with analysts. “Bombardier constantly monitors its product strategy and development priorities,” Beaudoin said. “Given the weakness in the market, we made the difficult decision to pause the Learjet 85 program at this time. We will focus our resources on our two other clean-sheet aircraft programs under development, the CSeries and Global 7000/8000, for which we see tremendous market potential. Both programs are progressing well.” (See related article on page 22 of this issue.)