Early last month, while Bombardier’s Wichita and Canadian business jet production and assembly facilities remained closed during an unprecedented, four-month plant shutdown that started in late December, the aerospace unit revealed that 3,000 employees–10 percent of its worldwide employment force–will be laid off over the next 12 months.
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Suffering from a sluggish market for its business jets and an uncertain environment for its regional jets, Bombardier Inc. abruptly replaced president and CEO Robert Brown with Paul Tellier, 63, a Bombardier director since 1997 and president of Canadian National Railway for the past decade.
Bombardier’s bottom line last year was bolstered by “solid” demand for its business jets, and the company said it plans to increase production to ease record backlogs. In its third-quarter FY2007 results released in late November, the Canadian company saw pre-tax profits reach $201 million, compared with $105 million during the same period last year.
Perhaps the most vital component in Bombardier’s C Series of single-aisle commercial jets will consist not of metal, pneumatics or electrical circuits, but money. By the end of last month the company expected to know the stakes governments would risk, as its February deadline for all to ante up approached. Unwilling to tip his hand, C Series program head Gary Scott wouldn’t reveal the number of U.S.
It took a while for the message to register, but Bombardier finally heeded the airline market’s counsel in late January and shelved its languishing C Series program. Although it will retain a staff of about 50 for studies on a small mainline jet, the company has begun shifting most of the financial and human resources once dedicated to the C Series to other programs, most notably studies on a new 90- to 100-seat regional jet.
Bombardier’s bottom line was bolstered by “solid” demand for its business jets, and the company said it plans to increase production to ease record backlogs. Additionally, the Canadian company said that the Bombardier and Beaudoin families’ management dynasty will continue, with the appointment of Pierre Beaudoin as president and CEO of Bombardier, effective June 4. Pierre’s father, Laurent Beaudoin, remains chairman of the board.
Bombardier Aerospace’s Belfast, Northern Ireland work- force has rejected a new pay deal and is threatening strike action. Trade union representatives had actually accepted a new four-year deal that was due to take effect at the end of this coming January, but this was rejected in a shop-floor vote on October 15.
As part of a major consolidation project that it says will save $25 million a year, Bombardier has embarked on an 18-month project to consolidate all Learjet production, completions and deliveries in Wichita, and all such Challenger work in Montreal.
On the heels of posting a net loss of $418.6 million in the last fiscal year, due primarily to the stalled market for business jets and regional airliners, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based Bombardier announced a major recapitalization program last month.
Chicago-based Jet Support Services Inc. has signed an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace in which the airframe manufacturer will provide the enrollment fee for JSSI’s top-of-the-line, tip-to-tail, customized hourly cost maintenance program applied to used “narrowbody” aircraft (primarily Learjets) taken in trade and sold over the next year.