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 February 1, 1998

Front Range gets its own Learjet salesman

BOULDER — It’s a name nearly synonymous with luxury flying — Learjet.

Even the Samples, a Boulder rock group, has a song about them. “If I was a Learjet, with nowhere left to fly, so high about the ground, I’d circle you, circle you.”

Now Boulder County and the Front Range region, increasingly drawing the larger corporations that can afford the $6 million to $10 million price tag for a corporate jet, has their own Learjet salesman.

Scott Westfall, who’s been in aviation sales for the past seven years at Jeffco Airport, was recruited last September to cover the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska and Kansas.

It’s a job Westfall, a CU grad, avid hang-glider and pilot, looks forward to as the regional economy gets stronger.

“The aviation industry has enjoyed a fairly spectacular last couple of years,” he says, as customers have begun to replace an aging fleet. Worldwide sales have been so strong, he notes, if you order a Learjet 45 today, a new line selling for about $7.5 million, “delivery would be in the year 2000” due to demand.

The eight-passenger Learjet 45 offers a flight range of 2,000 to 2,500 nautical miles, routinely flying at a speed of about 518 mph, or 0.81 mach. Jets like the Learjet fly higher than commercial aircraft, Westfall says, typically cruising at about 51,000 feet. The passenger cabin is plush, to say the least.

Learjet, a subsidiary of Bombardier Inc., a Canadian corporation with annual sales of nearly $6 billion, has built more than 1,700 jet aircraft and delivered them worldwide.

The Learjet 31A, Westfall explains, is the entry-level product he’s selling that starts at about $5.5 million to $6 million. The next step up is the Learjet 45 with the Learjet 60 next up at about $10.5 million.

At those prices, sales simply don’t walk in Westfall’s door every day. He travels frequently, but he optimistically predicts there will be several new Learjets along the Front Range soon.

According to the National Business Aircraft Association, or NBAA, the aircraft industry has enjoyed steady growth in each of the last 19 years. With jet, or turbine-powered aircraft, sales peaked in the early 1980s but then dropped substantially until the early 1990s. Since then, annual sales of new business jets have gained momentum with about 200 to 250 sold per year.

Business and corporate flights, the NBAA says, are the most common use for general aviation aircraft. One industry group reports than 70 percent of all general aviation flights are related to business.

And that’s good news for Westfall, who opened a office in the Vectra Bank building in downtown Boulder.

Westfall, 39, says he’s typically selling to a very “sophisticated” customer, one where “long-term” relationships are important. Security, he adds, is often a real consideration for the corporate buyer.

Being with Learjet, he says, gives him a company name that is “well received” on sales calls around the region.

BOULDER — It’s a name nearly synonymous with luxury flying — Learjet.

Even the Samples, a Boulder rock group, has a song about them. “If I was a Learjet, with nowhere left to fly, so high about the ground, I’d circle you, circle you.”

Now Boulder County and the Front Range region, increasingly drawing the larger corporations that can afford the $6 million to $10 million price tag for a corporate jet, has their own Learjet salesman.

Scott Westfall, who’s been in aviation sales for the past seven years at Jeffco Airport, was…

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