Jet builder soon to be in Mississauga wants fair shot to supply new air force planes

Published June 7, 2023 at 4:23 pm

Rendering of a new jet Bombardier wants to build for Canada's air force. (Image: Bombardier)

A global builder of business aircraft that will open a massive jet-manufacturing plant this summer at Pearson Airport in Mississauga is pushing the federal government to give it a fair chance at earning a multibillion-dollar contract to supply Canada’s air force with new surveillance planes.

A partnership between Montreal-based Bombardier and Virginia defence contractor General Dynamics (and its subsidiary General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, of Ottawa) is trying to table a winning bid to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) aging fleet of 14 CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol planes.

The Auroras are set to be retired by 2030 after some 50 years of service.

Earlier this week, Bombardier expressed concern that it was up against a sole-source contract situation that would favour rival Boeing.

Subsequently, the two partners in the Bombardier bid called on Ottawa to oversee an open procurement process in the search for replacement aircraft.

The federal government has said it’s still considering its options for the multibillion-dollar contract.

Bombardier and General Dynamics (GD) are seeking to offer the RCAF a fleet of Bombardier Global 6500 aircraft outfitted with sensors developed by GD of Ottawa.

Bombardier’s $500-million, state-of-the-art jet-manufacturing plant is on schedule to begin operations in Mississauga late this summer, the global aviation company’s president and CEO said earlier this spring. 

The 770,000-sq.-ft. Global Manufacturing Centre, the largest standalone structure to be built at Pearson in the last 20 years, according to airport officials, will replace Bombardier’s current final assembly plant located in Downsview. 

That facility was built in the 1960s and today houses some 2,000 workers. All of those employees will be brought along to the new Pearson plant, which company officials said earlier will significantly reduce Montreal-based Bombardier’s industrial and environmental footprint in the area.  

A number of new workers will also be hired once the plant is up and running in Mississauga.

–with files from The Canadian Press


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