The company, which is focused solely on building business jets after selling off its commercial airplane and train-making divisions in 2020, will move the 2,000 employees who work at its Downsview facility in Toronto to the new Mississauga facility at Pearson International Airport, where the company will build its Global line of jets, including its flagship Global 7500 plane.
Bombardier said the new facility will cut greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by more than half compared with the Downsview facility, which was built in the 1960s. The lease on the 770,000-square-foot Mississauga property ends in 2056.
Mr. Martel told The Globe and Mail that the company considered building the new facility in other locations where they have a presence, such as Quebec or in Wichita, Kan., but opted to stay in the Toronto area because it has a good relationship with its work force, which is represented by the Unifor trade union.
“We felt also that we were welcomed by the community,” Mr. Martel said. “I think it’s important to have a strong aerospace presence here in Toronto.”
Of the 2,000 workers in Toronto, about half are over the age of 55. Mr. Martel said the company is making efforts to bring young people into the company, where the average worker in Toronto earns $85,000 annually.
“It’s all about being pro-active, and trying to give visibility,” Mr. Martel said. “We’re working with different colleges. The kids need to know that those jobs exist right now. Not everybody can be a doctor or a lawyer, so we have to say there’s other possibilities and this is one of them and this is an industry that is paying well.”
Mr. Martel spoke about the company’s future at the Canadian Club in Toronto on Tuesday, and emphasized that the new investment is funded by the company, and not government subsidies. The company has long been criticized for being reliant on government support. In 2003, then-CEO of Bombardier Paul Tellier told a Canadian Club audience that his company was not a “corporate welfare bum.”
Mr. Martel said Bombardier now has a chance at a “clean slate” in terms of its image.
“In the actual circumstances of COVID, where we are as a company and restructuring, we could raise the money ourselves,” Mr. Martel told The Globe. “We were very happy to be able to say that this is a 100-per-cent financed Bombardier facility.”
The company expressed optimism last week, when it reported US$1.4-billion in revenue, a 17-per-cent increase from last year’s third quarter. It also generated US$100-million in free cash flow in the quarter, a US$747-million year-over-year improvement driven by strong results in the company’s aircraft maintenance and servicing business.
“[Bombardier jets are] actually flying more hours than pre-COVID,” Mr. Martel said. He said that more customers are willing to spend more for the added convenience, comfort and safety that a private jet offers over a commercial flight in business class.
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.