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Elite Airways’ Bombardier CRJ fleet of aircraft. (Photo: Elite Airways)

Mitsubishi Acquires Canadair Program from Bombardier

Following the sale of the C Series program to Airbus last year, Bombardier is selling its Canadair regional jet program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a deal that includes maintenance and global support facilities from the Canadian aerospace firm.

The deal, which will see the Japanese manufacturer take over Bombardier’s Canadair program maintenance, support, sales and marketing networks involves $550 million in direct payment from Mitsubishi, while assuming Bombardier’s liabilities accounting for $200 million. At the same time, Bombardier’s net beneficial interest in the regional securitization program will be transferred to Mitsubishi and is valued at $180 million.

Announcing the transaction, President and CEO Sejil Izumisawa said, “As we outlined during the recent Paris Air Show, we are working hard to ensure that we provide new profit potential for airlines and set a new standard for passenger experience.”

“This transaction represents one of the most important steps in our strategic journey to build a strong, global aviation capability. It augments these efforts by securing a world-class and complementary set of aviation-related functions including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), engineering and customer support,” he added.

On the other hand, Alain Bellemare, President and CEO of Bombardier commented in a press release, “We are very pleased to announce this agreement, which represents the completion of Bombardier’s aerospace transformation, We are confident that MHI’s acquisition of the program is the best solution for airline customers, employees and shareholders. We are committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition.”

“With our aerospace transformation now behind us, we have a clear path forward and a powerful vision for the future. Our focus is on two strong growth pillars: Bombardier Transportation, our global rail business, and Bombardier Aviation, a world-class business jet franchise with market-defining products and an unmatched customer experience,” Bellemare concluded.

Bombardier will still remain in control of the production of current CRJ orders in its facilities in Mirabel in Quebec, with production expected to cease by 2020 as Bombardier finishes manufacturing its aircraft backlog.

For Mitsubishi, gaining access to Bombardier’s commercial sales and support structures is a key component in its long term strategic outlook. With the Mitsubishi Regional Jet program in full swing, the airline is set to enter the market for regional airframes with the re-designed Space Jet. The new structures will enable the manufacturer to provide adequate maintenance and component support to a wider global clientele.

According to Airways Magazine, the Japanese aircraft has already secured more than 200 orders, 94 of which are dedicated to the larger M90 variant ordered by Skywest Airlines. Meanwhile, the smaller M100 aircraft is being used by some airlines to avoid U.S. pilot clausal scope agreements. The smaller member of the Space Jet family can seat as little as 65 passengers in a three-class configuration, below the clausal cap of 76 passengers, while holding a take-off weight of less than 86,000 tonnes.

Jose Antonio Payet
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Jose Antonio Payet
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