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  • The original models included the Learjet 23, 24, and extended-fuselage Learjet 25, produced between 1962 and 1982.
  • The Gates Learjet era introduced models like the Learjet 35/36, 28/29, and the successful Learjet 55 between 1973 and 1987.
  • Under Bombardier, models like Learjet 60, 45, 40, and finally 70/75 were produced, with production ending in 2022.

Learjet was a manufacturer of business jets for various civilian and business purposes. Founded in 1962, the company became a subsidiary of Canadian Bombardier Aerospace in the early 1990s. After that, the Learjet business jets were marketed as the Bombardier Learjet Family.

The name “Learjet” became synonymous with business and private jets. The company delivered its 3,000th aircraft in 2017, making it one of the most popular business jets in the market. Bombardier Aerospace suspended the production of all new Learjets in 2021 while continuing to provide maintenance and support to existing aircraft.

Simple Flying looks at different Learjet variants produced over the years, as highlighted by Private Jet Charter.

A Luxembourg Air Ambulance Learjet 35A/ZR flying in the sky.

Photo: InsectWorld | Shutterstock

Original models

Three different models were produced in the company’s original form when initially branded as Lear Jet, rather than the one-word term we know today. The first was the Learjet 23, which could seat four to six passengers and two pilots. The manufacturer produced 101 of these private aircraft between 1962 and 1966.

Following this, an improved version known as the Learjet 24 existed. This aircraft benefitted from having an increased maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), which clocked in at 6,123 kg (compared to 5,669 kg for the Learjet 23). Additionally, it had better engines and cabin pressurization, and an extra window. Overall, 259 of these jets were produced between 1966 and 1977.

The third and final aircraft produced under the original Lear Jet brand was the stretched-fuselage Learjet 25. This aircraft was 1.27 meters longer than the 23 and the 24, allowing it to seat a maximum capacity of eight passengers. Like the 24, production of the type started in 1966. However, it lasted longer, and by the time it concluded in 1982, 369 Learjet 25 aircraft had been built.

A Learjet 25 taxiing to the runway.

The Gates Learjet era

Shortly after the production of the 24 and 25 models had commenced, Learjet was merged with the Gates Aviation Corporation after the Gates Rubber Company acquired founder Bill Lear’s 60% share. This saw it become known as Gates Learjet, and the first variants produced under this name were the Model 35 and Model 36. 738 of these were produced between 1973 and 1994.


How The Learjet 75 Is Finding A New Role As An Air Ambulance

The type has found a unique second purpose.

Later that decade, 1977 saw the Learjet 28 take to the skies. This featured the fuselage of the Model 25 but a new wing design. It also had a long-range counterpart known as the Learjet 29. However, both types were commercial failures, with just nine units produced between them. The wider Learjet 55 was much more successful, selling 147 units between 1979 and 1987.

The final design that entered production under the Gates Learjet brand was the Learjet 31. Featuring the wing of the Model 28/29 and the fuselage and engines of the Model 35/36, 246 of these were produced between 1987 and 2003.

Cessna built the 500 Fanjet to compete with the Learjet 23

Bombardier years

1990 marked another ownership change when Bombardier acquired the Learjet Corporation. After that, the private jets produced were known as the Bombardier Learjet series. The first of these to hit the skies was the eight-passenger Learjet 60 (1990), followed by the all-new nine-passenger Learjet 45 model. Did you know that Ryanair flies three 45s to ferry crew and parts from place to place?


57 Years Of Service: A Look At The Learjet 25

The Learjet 25 was the largest of the company’s first private jets and the best seller.

Moving into the 21st century, August 2002 marked the first flight of the Learjet 40. Seating just seven passengers, this light business jet is a short-fuselage version of the popular Model 45. Following the failure of the Learjet 85 program (canceled) in 2015, the last model produced was the Learjet 70/75. Bombardier delivered the last of these in March 2022, bringing the series’ story to an end.

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