Bombardier suspends Canadian operations

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.

Bombardier's third flight test vehicle will join two Global 7000 test aircraft that are already flying. Bombardier Photo
All employees affected by the production halt will be placed on furlough Bombardier said in its statement. Bombardier Photo

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.

Ken Swartz Photo
Bombardier’s Global line of aircraft are produced in Downsview near Toronto, Ont. Ken Swartz Photo

“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.

One thought on “Bombardier suspends Canadian operations

  1. Not feeling a whole lot of sympathy for Bombardier, they have had too many bailouts to get
    any tears from me. It’s time for the Canadian government to step up and help other segments of
    the travel industry, like front line travel agencies and their employees.

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