Canadian aerospace manufacturer Heroux-Devtek has launched a programme to modernise its aerospace facilities across the province of Quebec, in a move that is expected to create 60 jobs and maintain 250 others.

The project represents an investment of about C$40 million. Of this amount, the Quebec Government, though Investissement Quebec, has agreed to provide financial assistance in the form of a C$8.8 million interest-free loan.

Additionally, a grant of C$1.8 million from Emploi-Quebec will be used towards a new training plan at the company. This grant will be triggered by Heroux-Devtek’s own investment of C$5.1 million in training.

Based in Longueuil, outside of Montreal, Heroux-Devtek supplies the aerospace market in both the commercial and military sectors with landing gear, airframe structural components including kits, and aircraft engine components.

A spokesman for the firm says a total C$27 million has been earmarked for enhancements to landing gear operations at the company’s main plant in Longueuil. The remaining C$13 million will be distributed to the company’s other facilities in the Greater Montreal area. He says the investment will be made over a three-year period.

These funds will be used to modernise equipment over various steps of the manufacturing process, says the Heroux-Devtek spokesman, noting that there is “a scarcity of qualified labour in the field and that is why you have to have the highest possible degree of automation”.

In a press conference today, Heroux-Devtek president and CEO Gilles Labbe said the firm has seen increased competition from emerging countries in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. “They have access to the same equipment we do. We are banking on the know-how of our workers to stay ahead and remain the leader in our field,” he says.

The Canadian minister responsible for the Montreal region, Raymond Bachand, added: “Heroux-Devtek is one of the pillars of the aerospace sector in Quebec and the world’s third-largest maker of landing gear. The government assistance is designed to maintain the international strength and skill that Quebec has acquired in this field.”

Heroux-Devtek’s goal, says the spokesman, is to improve overall productivity of its operations by 20%. “The goal is to grow, not just maintain, but it is for growth purposes no doubt,” he says.