The future of Bombardier's de Havilland plant in Downsview, Toronto, is in doubt, with the company threatening to begin transferring production of the Global Express business aircraft to Montreal unless it can secure cost concessions ahead of announcing its annual results early next month.

"We have got to the point where we're not going to wait until 3 April to get an agreement. If we don't, we are going to start moving Global Express work to Montreal. What happens after that remains to be seen," says Bombardier. The company had wanted a revised labour deal on costs in place before restarting the Dash 8 turboprop and Global Express production lines at Downsview last month (Flight International, 11-17 February).

Without the Global Express line, question marks hang over both the plant and the Dash 8, for which there is a backlog of only 26 aircraft or the equivalent of just over eight months of production. One analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, says industry sources have confirmed that Bombardier has considered selling the de Havilland property, on which the Ontario government has first refusal, along with disposing of its Belfast City Airport operation, the Lear Division, various military contracts and Recreational Products Division.

"The bottom line for Downsview is that no orders are coming in," says Cameron Doerksen of Dlouhy Merchant Group, Montreal. Employment at Downsview has has shrunk to 3,000 workers from 6,000 just two years ago.

Source: Flight International