Yesterday, Bombardier Aviation announced that it would be cutting around 2,500 jobs, mostly in Canada. Additionally, the company said the move reflects the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bombardier job cuts in response to COVID-19
In a press release yesterday, Canadian plane maker Bombardier said that it would be reducing its workforce by approximately 2,500 employees. Altogether, that equates to around 11% of the workforce in its aviation sector. Ultimately, the cuts are in response to the extraordinary challenges and interruptions within the industry caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
After suspending its manufacturing processes in response to the pandemic outbreak, Bombardier has resumed operations over the last month. But, with deliveries of business jets expected to be down by around 30% year-over-year, the company is adjusting its workforce and operations to ensure its survival. The statement says,
“Accordingly, Bombardier Aviation has made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by approximately 2,500 employees. The majority of these reductions will impact manufacturing operations in Canada and will be carried out progressively throughout 2020.”
Bombardier will record a special charge of around $40 million for the workforce adjustment. The plane maker’s global customer service operations have been mostly unaffected by the pandemic.
Simple Flying reached out to Bombardier for comment. The company told that the breakdown of job losses per country is as follows:
- Canada – 1900 (1,500 in Quebec and 400 in Ontario)
- Mexico – 500
- U.S. – 40
- Other – 40
Union says job cuts could be avoided
In a report by Reuters, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) said that the layoffs could be avoided. The union said that,
“The layoffs would affect 717 of its members in Montreal who are now benefiting from an emergency wage subsidy program implemented by the Canadian government to counter the fallout from the outbreak of COVID-19. Bombardier had the means to avoid the layoffs today if it extended the program, which runs through the end of August.”
However, a spokesperson for Bombardier Aviation said that to give the required notice of the job cuts, the company needed to act immediately.
Plane makers hit hard by the pandemic
The global drop in the demand for air travel has seen airlines deferring and canceling orders for new aircraft. Boeing had orders dropped for 110 planes in April. Moreover, Airbus reported yesterday that it had no new orders for May. But, in a more positive light, the company had not had any orders canceled in April or May.
Bombardier started in 1942 as a manufacturer of the snowmobile that was invented by founder, Joseph-Armand Bombardier. It currently operates in the aviation and rail sectors and has almost 60,000 employees around the world. The company also says that it is a global leader in the transportation industry. Furthermore, it seeks to create innovative and game-changing planes and trains.
However, it is in the process of selling its rail division for around $7 billion to French train manufacturer Alstom. In February 2020, the planemaker backed out of the A220 program. Subsequently, this left Airbus owning a 75% stake alongside the Quebec government.
The move effectively ended Bombardier’s involvement in commercial aircraft, leaving it primarily as a business jet manufacturer. The company makes the Learjet 75 Liberty, Challenger 350 and 650, and its range of Global jets.
Last month, Simple Flying reported on a massive fire at the Bombardier Aerospace manufacturing facility in Belfast. Therefore, it is an increasingly tough time for the company.
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