This year, the Bombardiers expect to see a profit—the first time since 2013, thanks largely to launching the long overdue CSeries jet and securing some key orders from major airlines. Meanwhile, the company plans to slash 10% of its workforce—about 7,500 jobs—to cut costs and has asked the federal government for a US$1-billion loan. Indeed, governments are adamant about seeing the business thrive. The feds, who are “very committed to the company,” announced $54 million for a Bombardier-led aerospace-research consortium in October, just after the Quebec government invested the second of two US$500 million instalments.
The company has been accused of getting unwarranted support from governments while maintaining a management structure that’s been criticized for failing to produce sufficient shareholder returns. The eight members of the Beaudoin-Bombardier family—heirs of Joseph-Armand Bombardier, who invented the snowmobile—control the company through a dual-class share structure that gives class A shares, 54% of which are owned by the family members, 10 votes apiece. Like it or not, the structure has helped the family maintain firm control over the aerospace and train company for nearly 80 years.