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Bombardier Quits Commercial Aviation as Airbus Takes Control of A220

 - February 13, 2020, 5:27 AM
Nigeria's Green Africa Airways agreed to buy 50 A220s airliners just hours after Airbus completed its acquisition of the program from Bombardier. [Photo: Airbus]

Airbus and the government of Quebec now hold sole ownership of the A220 airliner program after Bombardier transferred its remaining interest in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada). The transaction, announced late on February 12, marks the completion of Bombardier’s strategic exit from the commercial aviation sector.

The Europe-based Airbus group said that it now holds a 75 percent stake in the A220 joint venture. The government of Quebec is increasing its holding to 25 percent with any cash consideration being made.

Under a revised agreement, Airbus has an option to redeem Quebec’s holding in Airbus Canada in 2026, which is three years later than previously stated. Airbus’s Quebec-based subsidiary Stelia Aerospace has acquired work package capabilities for the A220 and A330 programs from Bombardier’s operation in Saint Laurent, Quebec.

This work will now be handled by Stelia Aeronautique Saint Laurent, which is a newly created subsidiary of Stelia Aerospace. It will continue to employ the 360 people working on these programs.

At the end of January net orders for the A220 narrowbody stood at 685 units. Airbus said this represented a 64 percent increase since it took majority ownership of the program on July 1, 2018.

“I would like to sincerely thank Bombardier for the strong collaboration during our partnership,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “We are committed to this fantastic aircraft program and we are aligned with the government of Quebec in our ambition to bring long-term visibility to the Quebec and Canadian aerospace industry.”

Airbus will pay Bombardier $591 million, net of adjustments, for the Canadian group’s holding in Airbus Canada. Of this amount, $531 million was paid at closing and a further $60 million will be due by the end of 2021. The agreement also covers the cancellation of Bombardier warrants owned by Airbus, as well as releasing Bombardier from its future funding capital requirement to Airbus Canada.

On February 13, Nigeria’s Green Africa Airways signed a memorandum of understanding to buy 50 A220-300s. It is the largest order yet for the aircraft from an African operator. Lagos-based Green Africa Airways has not said when it intends to firm up the order and start taking deliveries.

As of the end of January 2020, there were 107 examples of the 100- to 150-seat A220 family flying with seven operators on four continents. Last year, Airbus delivered 48 of the aircraft.

Also on February 13, Airbus published its 2019 financial results, reporting a consolidated loss of €1.4 billion.