Bombardier gets lease to build flagship jetliner at Pearson airport

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The exterior of the Bombardier Global 7500 jetline is photographed during a press conference event in Mississauga on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Bombardier Inc. says it has secured a long-term lease from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to build its flagship business jet at Pearson airport.

Preliminary work is underway at the new site in Mississauga, Ont., with production scheduled to begin in 2023, the plane-and-train maker announced Wednesday.

The high-tech plant would take over final assembly of Bombardier’s Global business jet series, which is currently assembled about 20 kilometres away at the company’s Downsview facility.

Bombardier says the one-million-square-foot factory will house thousands of employees who carry out highly skilled tasks such as attaching the wings to the fuselage.

“This is a strategic move for Bombardier and a strong commitment to Ontario’s aerospace industry,” chief executive Alain Bellemare said.

The Global 7500, along with the new Global 5500 and 6500, come partly as a response to products from rival business jet manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. as demand for the larger jetliners keeps rising.

Bombardier has continued to ramp up production of the 7500, which is scheduled for between 15 and 20 deliveries this year and 35 to 40 in 2020, though only two had been delivered as of Sept. 30.

Bombardier announced last year it would sell its Q400 turboprop business, which churned out up to 30 of the planes each year at its Downsview facility, to a subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital for about US$300 million.

Bombardier also sold the property the Downsview plant sits on to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, though it has a lease on the property until 2021, with a two-year extension option.

“Unifor welcomes this announcement and the preservation of good-quality aerospace jobs,” said union president Jerry Dias.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)

The Canadian Press

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