Bombardier asks Canadian government for financial assistance

Posted on 20 Nov 2015 by Aiden Burgess

Bombardier CEO, Alain Bellemare, has asked Ottawa for money to help the struggling trains and planes manufacturer.

While attending the Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa, federal economic development minister, Navdeep Bains, confirmed that a request for assistance had been made but would not specify the dollar figure Bellemare requested.

“I don’t want to negotiate in public but there is no doubt they definitely made a request,” Bains said, adding that he was confident a prudent decision would be made in regards to Bombardier’s request.

“We’re going to make sure we examine it and do our homework. I’m confident we’ll make a responsible decision in the best interest of taxpayers.”

Bains also noted that any financial assistance by the federal government would have to generate economic growth in the country as well as advantaging Canadian taxpayers.

“We’re going to make sure we look for what the best value for the Canadian dollar is,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we focus on what’s good for the economy and what will help grow the economy and create jobs.

“We’re looking at the business case to make sure we do our due diligence and homework.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Bombardier needed to present a solid business plan before he would consider injecting money to help the aerospace giant.

Quebec already onboard

The Quebec government pledged $1.3bn in October to help Bombardier complete the CSeries aircraft line, which is two years behind schedule.

The Quebec government will own 49.5% of a new joint company with Bombardier that would be solely responsible for the CSeries aircraft.

Under the $1.3bn pledge agreement, the Quebec government will have a direct say in the development of the CSeries plane and a 20-year guarantee that Bombardier will keep its headquarters, manufacturing and engineering facilities in the province.

Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust said that he expected Ottawa to also help finance Bombardier, which is traditionally one of the most important companies in the province.

Daoust and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard justified their decision to invest in Bombardier, stating the aerospace company is too important to not support, and that the $1.3bn cash injection is critical to keeping good jobs and tax revenues.

Couillard said the $1.3bn cash injection was an investment rather than a loan, a pledge which will help support the province’s aerospace industry that provides 40,000 jobs.

CSeries C100 completes flight testing

In contrast to the company’s struggles and being required to ask for financial assistance, Bombardier’s current silver lining is the recent completion of flight testing for its CSeries CS100 narrowbody.

Bombardier is now finalising the submission of the remaining documentation for Transport Canada approval, with the aerospace giant expecting to gain type certification by the end of the year.

Function and reliability testing on the first production-configured aircraft began on November 7, while its newly released CSeries FTV5 appeared at this month’s Dubai Airshow.

Function and reliability testing for the CSeries CS100 began with a four-leg mission beginning and ending in Mirabel, Quebec, and including stops in Moncton, New Brunswick, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and St John’s, Newfoundland.

The testing is meant to simulate typical flight routings and operational procedures, and will also be conducted across the US and then in Europe.

Bombardier has not revealed any specific delivery dates for the CS100 but said it will deliver the airplane during the first half of next year.