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​Bombardier to begin building Globals at Toronto Pearson in 2023

Bombardier expects to begin producing Global business jets at a newly-constructed Toronto Pearson airport site in 2023, part of a plan to move Global production out of the current Toronto Downsview site.

The Montreal-based company had already disclosed its intention to shift Global production to Pearson, but has now provided additional details, including its timeline.

Bombardier says it has signed a lease agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to build a 92,900sq m (1 million sq ft) "Global Manufacturing Centre" at Pearson, which is in Mississauga, Ontario.

The new facility will be about 10.8nm (20km) from the Downsview Global manufacturing site.

Bombardier says it has already started "preliminary" work at the new site and that it anticipates "first production activities" will begin in 2023.

The company says it is unable to confirm exactly when Global production at Downsview will fully cease.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare calls the relocation representative of Bombardier's "strong commitment to Ontario's aerospace industry". The company says the new site will employ thousands of workers.

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A digital rendering of the Toronto Pearson airport Global jet production site that Bombardier expects will open in 2023

Bombardier

Bombardier acquired property at Downsview, which includes a 7,000ft (2,130m) runway, in January 1992 with the acquisition of De Havilland Canada, which made the Dash 8 line of turboprops there, the company says. It began assembling components of the Global Express business jet at Downsview in 1996.

Several years ago, amid financial struggles onset by the weight of the CSeries airliner development programme, Bombardier began divesting assets.

In June 2018, the company sold the Downsview site to Canadian pension manager Public Sector Pension Investment Board, for $635 million.

Bombardier noted it used only 10% of the 152ha (375acre) Downsview site, which it described as valuable real estate near Toronto's downtown. The company leased back its manufacturing facilities at Downsview, continuing Global and Dash 8 production there.

At the time of the sale, Bombardier said it intended to shift Global production to Pearson, and had reached an agreement to lease 15ha of space at the airport.

Then in June 2019, the company sold the Dash 8 programme to Longview Aviation Capital, which now manufacturers that aircraft under a company called De Havilland Aircraft of Canada.

De Havilland has said it intends to continue manufacturing Dash 8s at Downsview at least until its lease expires in 2023. However, that company's chief operating officer Todd Young told FlightGlobal this year that he hopes to negotiate a lease extension.

De Havilland did not respond immediately to a request for updated information about its Downsview plans.

Downsview's aviation history stretches to at least 1929, when the original de Havilland Canada began manufacturing aircraft there, according to Bombardier and the website of Downsview Park.

Portions of the Downsview land later became a Canadian military base, which closed in 1994, according to Toronto city documents.

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