Frank Sinatra loaned his Learjet to Elvis Presley to travel with Priscilla Beaulieu.
The Learjet, which became synonymous with the lifestyle of the rich and famous, is about to go down in aviation history.
Canadian firm Bombardier announced Thursday that it will stop manufacturing the iconic luxury private jet later this year, which carried generations of business executives and became famous in popular culture.
The jet appeared in various places in pop culture, such as in the lyrics of the 1971 Carly Simon hit “You’re So Vain” or the hit TV show “Mad Men.” Frank Sinatra loaned his Learjet to Elvis Presley to travel with Priscilla Beaulieu.
Bombardier said it will focus on more profitable aircraft. He said that as a result of the decision it will eliminate 1,600 jobs in Canada and the United States. The plane first flew in the 1960s and was one of the first luxury private jets.
William Lear based part of his design on military aircraft. The first Learjet flew in 1963 and more than 3,000 have been built since then.
“It was sleek and had almost a fighter jet pedigree,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group. “For its time, it symbolized personal executive transportation. Plus, Carly Simon put it into a fantastic song, which cemented its place in popular culture. “
In recent years, the plane’s production had dropped to just one per month or so.
Thursday’s decision was heralded in 2015, when Bombardier abandoned plans to build an entirely new model, the Learjet 85, citing low demand. The analysts could then see the end of the aircraft.
“The only thing the pandemic did was hasten a sad ending,” Aboulafia said.
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