As Boeing moves ahead with plans to leave Wichita, Learjet revealed it will expand its footprint there. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Bombardier Business Aircraft President Steve Ridolfi on Tuesday announced an expansion of the company’s Learjet production site, saying the growth will create 450 new jobs over the next seven to 10 years.
Brownback and Ridolfi said the expansion would include a new Flight Test Center as well as facilities for paint and production and a delivery center. The growth also will include establishment of a Bombardier Center of Excellence of Engineering and Information Technology at the site.
The state is providing $16 million in financial support to go along with $600 million the company is spending to develop the Learjet 85 midsize jet and expand Learjet’s Wichita factory.
The Learjet 85, launched in 2007, is a midsize jet with a target range of 3,000 nm and a high-speed cruise target of Mach 0.82. Bombardier announced at the NBAA convention in October that production of the first test Learjet 85 was under way in anticipation of the aircraft’s entry into service in 2013.
Boeing last week announced it is closing its Wichita factory at the end of next year.