Smartphone maker BlackBerry was today facing major embarrassment as it emerged the company bought a corporate private jet in July, even as it was running up a quarterly loss of almost $1 billion (£628 million).
News of the aircraft deal comes as it plans to axe 4,500 jobs, including at its UK base in Slough. The purchase of the 2006 long-range Bombardier, which costs around $20 million, only came to light in Canadian aircraft registration records.
BlackBerry insisted it bought the aircraft to replace two Dassault planes, but a spokesman added: “In light of the company’s current business condition, the company has decided to sell that aircraft along with the two legacy aircraft and will no longer own any planes.” BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins shocked investors last week with quarterly sales of just 3.7 million smartphones worth $1.6 billion — half analysts’ estimates. Meanwhile Nokia boss Stephen Elop faces criticism over a $20 million windfall after selling its handsets division to Microsoft.