Bombardier cutting 5,000 jobs, selling Q Series aircraft

Bombardier has announced measures that will result in 5,000 job losses, half of which will be in Quebec, over the next 12 to 18 months. 

The Montreal-based company said Thursday morning the measures will result in $250 million in annual savings. It also announced it will sell its Q Series turboprop aircraft program to Longview Aviation Capital for $300 million. 

The carrier reached another agreement to sell its business aircraft flight and technical training unit, which is run out of Montreal, Quebec City and Dallas, to another Montreal multinational, CAE. 

Bombardier is also selling training services to CAE for $645 million. The transactions with CAE will total $800 million in revenue for Bombardier and are expected to be finalized by mid-2019. 

Bombardier said the deals with Longview and CAE will amount to $900 million in net proceeds.

The company’s third-quarter revenues reached $3.6 billion US, a 48 per cent increase compared to its earnings for the same period last year.

Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said the cuts and sales are necessary, and the company would continue to “streamline” its operations. 

John Di Bert, Bombardier’s chief financial officer, said in a conference call with investors Thursday morning that “the actions announced this morning demonstrate our focused efforts to grow earnings and cashflows.”

“We continue taking concrete actions to reshape Bombardier’s portfolio.”

‘Unfortunate and distressing’: union

Bombardier spokesperson Simon Letendre confirmed another 500 jobs will be cut in the rest of Canada, on top of the 2,500 in Quebec. The company has 70,000 employees worldwide.

David Chartrand, Quebec co-ordinator for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said Thursday’s announcement was “unfortunate and distressing,” speaking to Radio-Canada’s radio morning show host Alain Gravel on Thursday.

“The biggest frustration is that Bombardier has once again announced major cuts just before the holidays,” said Chartrand.

He said he wants the company to give more details about which employees will be affected. About 20,000 people work for Bombardier in Quebec, he said.

“That’s 20,000 employees with question marks in their mind.”

Chartrand said the pattern of deals Bombardier has made over the past few years, including handing over its C Series airliner to Airbus and selling the Q400 facilities, indicates it may be shedding its commercial aircraft operations to focus on its business fleet.

“That is definitely one of the questions we will be asking the company.” 

Chartrand said he hopes the union can reach a deal with CAE that would be similar to the deal struck with Airbus: for the CAE to hire Bombardier employees and keep their seniority.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the government will look into ways to help workers affected by the cuts, as well as, “if necessary,” how it could support projects from other Quebec companies that could create jobs.

With files from Radio-Canada



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