Debate swirls as Bombardier mulls CSeries plant at Kansas City

Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

Missouri regulators are considering an incentive plan to support Bombardier’s possible construction of a $375 million CSeries manufacturing plant on a plot of land at Kansas City International Airport that is currently used for cattle grazing.

Discussions on the state Senate floor opened yesterday, concerning the level of support that should be offered to Bombardier, confirms a spokeswoman for the Kansas City Area Development Council, a private, non-profit organization charged with representing the economic interests of the greater Kansas City area.

A proposal from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which would give Bombardier up to $40 million in tax credits annually for 22 years, has drawn major heat. Opponents have posted negative video messages on YouTube claiming that such a plan is “kind of like maxing out the state’s credit card to the Canadians”.

A much smaller incentive package is now reportedly on the table. The regulatory debate occurring this morning comes on the heels of yesterday’s tour by Bombardier Aerospace president and chief operating officer Pierre Beaudoin of the airport property, as well as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant, seen as an instrument of success in the area.

Joining Beaudoin was Kansas City Area Development Council CEO Bob Marcusse, the city’s aviation department director Mark Vanloh and deputy director David Long. They pointed out how the land’s proximity to the runway could easily facilitate the transport of components to the proposed CSeries plant, and how the area boasts a vast qualified workforce. “They [Bombardier executives] were pleased with the site,” says a spokesman for the department.

For Kansas City International Airport, he says, the project “makes a lot of sense” as it would prove an additional revenue source on top of landing fees, rents and parking, and diversify the airport’s portfolio.

Bombardier is remaining closed-lipped about its specific plans, or the legal wrangle surrounding them, but a spokesman confirms that Beaudoin “is visiting Kansas City this week on a private business trip”.

Several potential sites in the USA are being actively explored by Bombardier for work-share on its proposed 110/130-seat CSeries. Bombardier has previously said, however, that it sees Mirabel, Quebec as the “preferred site” for final assembly.

The CSeries wing, horizontal and vertical stabilisers, and nacelles were originally slated to be built in Bombardier’s facilities in Belfast and the cockpit in St Laurent, Quebec.

Final assembly was to occur in Mirabel. However, during a 22 February conference call following a decision by Bombardier’s board to authorize formal CSeries sales proposals to customers, executives confirmed that US sites were being evaluated in light of the continued challenges posed by the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news