Learjet 75 Liberty buyer’s and investor’s guide

Yuvan Kumar
By Yuvan Kumar July 31, 2019 13:00 Updated

Learjet 75 Liberty buyer’s and investor’s guide

If you were in the market for a private aircraft in the early ’60s, you’d know there was nothing that came close to the performance of the Learjet.

It wasn’t the first civilian jet for sale, but it was the most convenient and cost-efficient option available. This is not to say that it was an easy rise to the top. Cessna and Beechcraft – two established aircraft heavyweights – were already based in Wichita, which was also home to the Learjet.

Fast forward nearly 60 years and Learjet is a household name, owned by Canadian OEM Bombardier. It released the Learjet 45 and 40, strong contenders in the mid-size and light jet categories, in 2010. There were subsequent upgrades, the Learjet 75 and 70, in 2012. And now, Bombardier has announced the Learjet 75 Liberty.

Traditionally, owners have bought Learjets for the brand name and the emotional value they hold. And even today, Learjet is often the first private-jet name that comes to members of the public outside the aviation industry.

 

On short final for landing on runway. Credit: Bombardier Business Aircraft

Bombardier Learjet 75 photographed on May 1, 2019 at KTRM. Credit: Bombardier Business Aircraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying

The newest Learjet 75 Liberty is positioned as an upgrade for light jet operators, providing the largest cabin in this segment of aircraft for a reduced 6-seat capacity. The Liberty also comes at a reduced price of $9.9 million, when compared to the Learjet 75 which launched at $13.8 million.

Its range of 2,080 nautical miles can connect Las Vegas to New York, Seattle to Washington, D.C., and Mexico City to San Francisco, non-stop.

The aircraft has optional APU and comes fitted with Garmin G5000 avionics, a feature that was retrofitted into the Learjet 75.

 

Aircraft Maximum range Maximum speed Maximum passengers List price
Bombardier Learjet 75 Liberty2,080nmMach 0.81

7$9.9 million
Bombardier Learjet 752,040nmMach 0.81

9$13.8 million
Cessna Citation CJ3+2,040nmMach 0.629$8.3 million
Embraer Phenom 3001,971nmMach 0.7810$8.7 million

 

Travelling

The fact that the Learjet 75 Liberty has six seats is possibly one of its biggest talking points. Because there’s truth in the statement ‘less is more.’ In fact, with the Liberty, less is more, since the reduced number of seats gives the passengers more space per person.

It is touted to be the “the only Executive Suite in the light jet category.”

Traditionally, the Lear range has been known to revise seating provisions, with the Learjet 45 reducing eight to six seats in the Learjet 40. And the same configuration change from the 75 to the 70.

However, the Liberty comes fitted with retractable, oversized ottomans with leg support in the Executive Suite. Also included are retractable oversized tables, which are a never-before-seen feature in the Learjet.

As we have said in the past, “No one buys a light jet to have a big cabin,” but the increased space in the Liberty is already sparking conversations. And the statement might have to change.

Although there are no changes to the height (4ft 11 in) and width (5ft 1 in) of the fuselage, the reduced seating promises increased leg room.

One operator said: “I’m really excited about this. It feels almost like a Challenger cabin fitted into a Learjet.”
The Executive Suite is positioned at the front of the aircraft. What’s more? An in-built pocket door (below) helps create a quieter cabin.

Owning

While a lot of brokers will tell you – over a beer – that the list price of an aircraft usually indicates the highest a buyer will go, it is difficult to spin a $4 million list-price drop in a bad way.

Louise Solomita, Bombardier Business Aicraft’s communications adviser, said the optional APU and reconfiguration led to the price drop. “We think the Learjet 75 Liberty will be competitive where there is a market for light jets.”

Some consider this new release to be an “odd” move, stating that the company is scaling down, when it ought to be scaling up in every way. However, others believe the Liberty will have all the benefits of the Learjet brand, while appealing to a niche market.

A 2019 report by Conklin & deDecker estimates the total variable cost per hour for the Learjet 75 as $2,081.83. The report said: “variable costs include fuel, airframe maintenance, labour and parts, engine restoration and miscellaneous costs.”

It is telling that the price of the Liberty now puts it very close to competitors such as the Embraer Phenom 300 E  and Citation CJ3+, which come in at $9.4 million and $8.5 million respectively.

One Learjet broker stated that it might “syphon sales from the Phenom and the Citation.”

It is important to note that Learjet sales have been worryingly low in the past few years. In 2017, only 14 75s were delivered, while 2018 saw 12 deliveries.

The Phenom 300, on the other hand, had 54 deliveries.

A Learjet owner and operator said: “There are three things to look at when buying an aircraft: the price of the aircraft, what you can earn from it during the ownership and what you can get for it when you sell.”

In terms of the pre-owned market, data from AMSTAT shows the average asking price for the Learjet 75 in 2019 was $6.5 million. Nine of the active fleet – 110 aircraft – are still available for sale.

He also said that while these are early days to predict, Bombardier is likely to go where Embraer goes to find a market for the Learjet 75 Liberty.

And while the business aircraft market is global in nature, its American roots and the name ‘Liberty’ might be an early, but significant tell-tale sign for Bombardier’s plans for the new release.

 

Yuvan Kumar
By Yuvan Kumar July 31, 2019 13:00 Updated

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