Bombardier reports $1.6B US loss for 2019, sells remaining stakes in A220 program

Quebec aerospace giant Bombardier reported a $1.6 billion US loss for 2019 on Thursday, shortly after it announced that it’s leaving the commercial aviation business.

The multinational corporation said late Wednesday that it sold its remaining stake in the A220 program — formerly known as the C Series — to Airbus. 

Bombardier has been re-organizing its business in an effort to pay off a multibillion-dollar deficit. It released its financial results for 2019 on Thursday.

Under the deal, Airbus now owns a 75 per cent stake in the commercial jet program. The Quebec government, which is not injecting any new money into the program, owns 25 per cent.

Airbus, which also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier, will pay Bombardier $591 million US. Bombardier will no longer be required to make investments of approximately $700 million US in the commercial jet program.

The deal also includes a three-year guarantee of the jobs belonging to 360 people who construct the plane’s cockpits at the plant in the Montreal borough of Ville Saint-Laurent. After that, they will be transferred to Mirabel, Que.

In all, Airbus said the deal secures a total of 3,300 jobs in Quebec.

Bombardier said in January that it was “reassessing its ongoing participation” in its partnership with Airbus to manufacture the A220.

Despite the Quebec government’s $1.3 billion investment in the C Series in 2016, sales of the planes were initially slow, leading Bombardier to sell a controlling stake of the C Series program to Airbus in 2018 for $1.

Today, the Canadian company Bombardier is more than $9 billion US in debt. Over the years, it has received billions in taxpayer bailouts. But after some big failures, layoffs and criticism over executive bonuses, this time around may be different. 24:05

While A220 orders have since started rolling in, Bombardier would need to inject more money into the program to ramp up production.

Premier François Legault has ruled out investing more government money in the A220 program, but Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said that he wants to protect Quebec’s investment in the plane.

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