Our April/May issue looks at COVID-19 and Canadian operators. We also visit Summit Air, Fox Flight Air Ambulance and Planes & Parts. Plus: Boeing Block III Super Hornet and Diamond DA40 NG flight test!
Bombardier recently announced that in light of provincial shutdowns by the governments of Ontario and Quebec, the OEM would be suspending production of its business aircraft, effective at the end of the business day on March 24. The production halt will also include its rail operations and will stay in effect until at least April 26.
On March 23, both Ontario and Quebec announced the shutdown of all non-essential work within the provinces to “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19. Ontario’s shutdown is poised to last two weeks, while Quebec’s will last until at least April 13.
Bombardier’s line of Challenger aircraft, along with a number of aircraft components, are produced in Quebec at sites in Dorval and Mirabel, while most of the company’s Global line — including the Global 5500, 6500 and 7500 — are produced at the company’s Downsview facility near Toronto, Ont.
The company said in a statement that all employees impacted by the shutdown will be placed on furlough, while Bombardier’s CEO Alain Bellemare, along with its senior leadership team, have agreed to forgo “board compensation” for the rest of 2020.
“Since the coronavirus outbreak, the company has been focused on keeping our employees safe, serving our customers to the best of our ability during these difficult times and taking the necessary actions to protect our business for the long term,” said Pierre Beaudoin, chairman of Bombardier’s board of directors, in the statement. “In addition to the actions announced today, Bombardier has cut all discretionary spending, is continuing the work on closing the previously announced transactions and is pursuing additional measures to enhance liquidity.”
According to Reuters, employees at Bombardier’s Downsview facility were sent home early on March 23 after a contractor tested positive for the coronavirus. The worker had gotten sick a week earlier, and had stopped going into work and has since received the positive test.
In the same statement announcing the production halt, Bombardier also announced it will be suspending its financial outlook for 2020. Undoubtedly a tough turn of events for the Canadian manufacturer, who have made recent strides to help combat the company’s overwhelming debt. Earlier this year the company announced the sale of its stake in the C Series with Airbus (now named the A220 program), and the sale of its rail division to the French company Alstom.