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Tom Enders is CEO of Airbus

Canada has a great history of innovation in aerospace – and this country looks set to continue building on that legacy. Airbus aims to be a key partner in Canada’s successful aviation future.

We can do that vital work together because both Airbus and Canada believe in global trade, international co-operation and environmental excellence.

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Canadians brought the world one of the first passenger jet airliners ever to fly (the Avro C102 Jetliner in 1949, from which the word “jetliner” entered our vocabulary); launched one of the earliest satellites sent into space (Alouette 1 in 1962); and revolutionized air transportation in smaller cities (with the Canadair Regional Jet). So, there is no doubt – Canada’s history and expertise in aerospace run deep.

Joining that proud list is the truly innovative aircraft developed by Bombardier in Quebec as the C Series – now a new and vital part of the Airbus family as the A220-100 and A220-300. These remarkable aircraft, specifically designed for the 130- to 160-seat market, deliver lower fuel burn, half the noise footprint and decreased emissions – making them true community-minded jetliners.

The market for smaller single-aisle jets is projected to be about 7,000 over the next 20 years, and the A220 has all the credentials it needs to take the lion’s share of that. This is why Airbus has already made and will continue to make considerable investments in this vital, Canada-led program.

Canada has everything necessary to continue to develop its aerospace industry as an engine for future economic growth: a rich pool of existing talent and experience, a dynamic education system that continues to feed that talent pool, a strong supplier network to support all aspects of the industry and a research ecosystem that fuels innovation.

As Al Power of aerospace manufacturer Precision Castparts Corp. put it in a Globe and Mail article last month, there are strong arguments for Canada to look more toward aerospace for economic growth than other more uncertain industries. We see that happening – most recently in this month’s announcement of support by the Quebec and federal governments to Montreal-based CAE, another great Canadian enterprise, to harness new technologies to develop the next generation of aerospace simulation and training products.

Airbus, like CAE, is committed to Canada’s leading role in the aerospace industry of tomorrow – one that is and will remain (despite current nationalistic pressures) a truly global business. Even before the A220 partnership, Airbus – with its more than 1,000 employees and 35-year history in Canada, including our Fort Erie, Ont., helicopter manufacturing facility – was working and spending billions of dollars with more than 600 Canadian suppliers in nine provinces.

Look for this to increase, with the 12,500 direct and indirect jobs supported by the A220 partnership. We also see strong growth potential for our helicopter business as well as space and defence, the latter highlighted by our most recent contract to supply new fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft to the Canadian Armed Forces.

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This growth in Canada is one reason why the annual Airbus global supplier conference will take place in Montreal this fall. It is an opportunity to showcase the aviation ecosystem that already exists in this country – and to help create new partnerships and opportunities for Canadian ingenuity on a global scale.

Aviation and aerospace are crucial growth and prosperity drivers for the future. Airbus and Canada, by continuing to work and innovate together, will make it fly.

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