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Bombardier Inc. has signed a long-term lease for a site at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, formalizing the relocation of the company’s business jet manufacturing.

The US$350-million facility, slated for completion in 2023, will take over final assembly of the company’s family of global business jets, which are currently assembled at Bombardier’s Downsview site near York University.

“We now have the perfect location to build our future cutting-edge, world-class facility for assembling business aircraft,” Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said at an announcement event in Toronto on Wednesday. “Our great aircraft will be built in Toronto for years to come.”

Last year, Bombardier sold the 1.5-square-kilometre Downsview site to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board for US$635-million, part of a five-year plan to turn around the company’s fortunes. Since 2015, Bombardier has cut thousands of jobs and raised billions of dollars through asset sales while narrowing its focus on private jets and rail equipment.

The Downsview site, is underused and includes a 2,100-metre runway the company has to operate, Mr. Bellemare said at the time of the sale.

The 38-year lease with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) secures a 41-acre lot and gives Bombardier access to the GTAA’s runways at Pearson. Once complete, it will employ roughly 3,000 people, which is comparable to the size of the work force at Downsview, the company said.

“Today is a big deal for me personally and it’s a big deal for our members,” said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, which represents 2,100 Bombardier aerospace workers.

The products eventually coming off the assembly line at the Pearson facility will include the company’s flagship Global 7500 – the most expensive private jet Bombardier has ever produced, with a price tag of about US$73-million. The 7500 was introduced to the market last December amid a global slump in private jet sales.

Bombardier has a target of 15 to 20 deliveries of the 7500 by the end of this year, although the company said in October it had delivered just five.

“We will hit our delivery target,” said Paul Sislian, chief operating officer of Bombardier Aviation.

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