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Bombardier pulls out

"It didn't make any business sense to continue."

Bombardier aircraft has ceased operations in North Bay and will not be finishing any more work on its CL-415 water bombers says a company official.

Isabelle Gauthier, the Director of Communications for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft confirmed to BayToday that, "We will not be renewing our lease going forward" at North Bay's Jack Garland Airport.

The lease ends in April 2016, but Bombardier was required to give at least 90 days notice Gauthier said.

"There are currently no aircraft in production," explained Gauthier,"It didn't make any business sense to continue."

North Bay's facility was for finishing the aircraft after assembly in Montreal, and three had been completed this year but no more were on the horizon.

"We need sales," said Gauthier. "We need commitment to continue production."

She said if sales are made, they may attempt to reopen the North Bay facility but "it's not like turning on a light switch."

"Activities are continuing for more sales," she said, and Bombardier is "keeping the door open" to further involvement in North Bay if there are significant sales of the aircraft in future.

There are no layoffs says Gauthier, as permanent Bombardier employees were offered employment with the company elsewhere, and only "complimentary" or "contract" workers were left.

At its height, the operation employed 65 workers, but Gauthier says the "vast majority" were complimentary, not permanent employees.

There are no longer any Bombardier employees remaining in North Bay she said.

Although disasters and forest fires seem to be increasing, most of the water bombers are sold to governments which requires a different strategy than selling to airlines.

"It's harder and there are more hurdles," making the sales process longer and more cumbersome.

The CL-415 is an aircraft designed and built specifically for aerial firefighting.

It can scoop up to 6,140 litres of water, mix it with a chemical foam, and drop it on a fire without having to return to base to refill its tanks. 

See one in action here.




Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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