BlackBerry Flight Department Logs Off

Smartphone manufacturer sells Global Express.

Bombardier Global Express

Bombardier Global Express

** Bombardier Global Express business jet**

Faced with crippling losses of an estimated $995 million in the last quarter, Canadian-based BlackBerry has sold its Bombardier Global Express and shuttered its Waterloo, Ontario, flight department. The staff will be among 4,500 to be laid off, a cutback confirmed in a company statement issued last week.

"In light of the company's current business condition, the company has decided to sell the Global Express along with the two legacy aircraft [a Falcon 50 and Falcon 900EX] and will no longer own any airplanes," said a company statement issued Sunday. The Falcons, a 1994 Falcon 50 and a 2000 Falcon 900EX, were sold earlier this year and replaced in July with the single Global Express.

Even when management of a troubled company understands that an in-house aviation section can be cost-effective, the outside perception often dictates that the airplanes must go. Traditionally, a corporate flight department is often the first to be cut, and the last to be re-instated as companies face hard economic times. One exception was the Chrysler restructuring during the mid-1970s, when CEO Lee Iacocca made a strong case for keeping the company Gulfstream as a necessary business tool for bringing the carmaker back to profitability.

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