Bombardier on 1 May marked the opening of its new Global business jet production site at Toronto Pearson International airport, completing a transition started several years ago as part of a broader business restructuring.

The company in September 2023 started some Global manufacturing work at the new 71,535sq m (770,000sq ft) facility, which sits on 16.6ha of airport land leased from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.


Source: Jon Hemmerdinger/FlightGlobal

Production has switched from previous facility at Downsview

Only in March did the site become fully operational and fully staffed, at that point Bombardier stopped producing Globals at its former facility in the Downsview section of Toronto. All Global aircraft – the 5500, 6500 and 7500, to be followed by the in-development 8000 – are now assembled at Pearson.

Bombardier on 1 May hosted an event at the facility to mark its opening. Thousands of people, mostly employees and their families, were expected to attend.

“The facility opening here is a big milestone,” Bombardier chief executive Eric Martel said at the event. “We are building here, in this facility, the airplane that is the flagship for the industry.”

He was referring to Bombardier’s 7,700nm (14,260km)-range Global 7500, which, for the moment, remains the company’s flagship. However, it will be supplanted next year by 8,000nm-range Global 8000.

The Toronto assembly building houses 20 work-stations along two lines: one producing Global 7500s (and soon 8000s), and the other producing 5500s and 6500s. Next door, Bombardier has a separate, six-station flight-test hangar where it completes final work with fuelled aircraft.

Global 7500 fuselage Bombardier's Toronto Pearson production site

Source: Jon Hemmerdinger/FlightGlobal

Bombardier receives Global 7500 fuselages from supplier Airbus Atlantic Canada

Bombardier declines to reveal current production figures, although the company delivered 75 Global aircraft in 2023, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Bombardier had manufactured aircraft at the former Downsview site since acquiring De Havilland Canada in 1992. It sold that facility in 2018 amid financial pressure brought on by its development of the CSeries (now Airbus A220) single-aisle passenger jet. Bombardier leased the Downsview site as it transferred production to Pearson, and flew its last aircraft from the now decommissioned airport in March.

At the new Pearson site, Bombardier assembles Globals from large structural components produced internally and by suppliers. It produces all Global cockpits in Saint-Laurent near Mirabel, makes all Global rear fuselages in Queretaro in Mexico and manufacturers the 7500’s wings in Red Oak, Texas.

But Bombardier sources Global 7500 fuselages from Airbus Atlantic Canada. While MHI Canada and Spirit AeroSystems respectively produce the wings and centre fuselages, and forward fuselages for the Global 5500/6500.

Pearson’s production system makes extensive use robotics to secure major components on the Global 7500. Each robot “drills, reams, installs sealant [and] installs a fastener – all in a cycle time of… under 30 seconds per fastener. Consistently. Every time,” says Bombardier director of operations Michael Murphy. Workers manually drill and fasten the structures on the Global 5500 and 6500.

Bombardier Global production site Toronto Pearson

Source: Jon Hemmerdinger/FlightGlobal

Global business jets production facility was fully up and running by March

After assembly, Bombardier moves the jets outside for pre-flight work, including fuelling and avionics tests. Workers perform engine tests in a “ground-run enclosure” equipped with deflectors capable of accommodating a Global 7500’s twin 18,000lb (80kN)-thrust GE Aerospace Passport turbofans at full power.

After that, the airframer flies Globals to Montreal for cabin completion work.

The Pearson site’s opening caps several years of transition for Bombardier. In addition to divesting CSeries to Airbus, it sold off its CRJ and Dash 8 commercial aircraft programmes, and its rail business to Alstom, leaving it as purely a business jet manufacturer. Last week, Bombardier marked its transformation with a new logo and refreshed branding.