Briefing

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries buys Bombardier’s Canadair Regional Jet program

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Mitsubishi will pay US$550 million and assume about US$200 million in liabilities to take over Bombardier’s Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) series. The Tokyo-based company will take over the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing and sales activities for the jets. Bombardier will keep the main CRJ manufacturing facility in Mirabel, Que., along with the facility’s roughly 375 employees in order to build 42 jets that have already been ordered. That backlog is expected to be cleared by the end of 2020; the company hasn’t said what will happen with the facility and its workers after that point.(Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The CRJ series has been losing money for years, and reports of Bombardier seeking a buyer for the jets have been circulating since 2017. The sale marks the end of the company’s commercial airline business, having sold the C-Series and Q400 turboprop businesses in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The move leaves Bombardier to focus on its business jets and rail business. It could also open up funding for other aerospace endeavors. While it’s common for governments to subsidize their aerospace industries, Bombardier has swallowed up much of the grants and loans on offer in Canada—more than $4 billion worth, by some estimates. Bombardier’s exit from the space follows a report authored by former Quebec premier Jean Charest calling on governments to up those supports for the aerospace sector, lest Canada fall further behind foreign competitors.