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Bombardier to sell Belfast and Morocco sites

Bombardier has combined its commercial and business aircraft units into a single division called Bombardier Aviation, and will seek to divest its aerostructures businesses in Belfast and Morocco.

The Canadian manufacturer's chief executive Alain Bellemare describes the organisation overhaul, announced 2 May, as continuation of a turnaround plan and a means to simplify Bombardier’s structure.

"We announced a major organisational change: the consolidation of our aerospace assets in the a single, streamlined and fully integrated Bombardier Aviation business unit," states Bellemare.

David Coleal, former head of Bombardier's business aircraft division, will lead Bombardier Aviation.

"Today's announcement is based on our long-term strategy and vision. It is the culmination of the actions taken since launching our five-year turnaround plan in 2015," Bellemare adds. "Bombardier is a much stronger company today."

The turnaround plan calls for Bombardier to return to break-even performance and has led the company to sell majority ownership of the CSeries (now called the A220) to Airbus. Bombardier has also signed a deal to sell the Q400 turboprop.

The company now expects to close the Q400 sale to Longview Aviation Capital, owner of Viking Air, in "mid-year", says Bellemare.

"Our strategy path forward is now clearer than ever. Bombardier will be a focused company and a stronger story," he asserts.

Bombardier says the Belfast and Morocco aerospace units represent about half of Bombardier's aerostructures business, which generated $2 billion in 2018 revenue.

Products made at Bombardier's Belfast site, formerly a Shorts facility, include A220 wings.

"Belfast is a great business… and they are supporting Airbus and also Bombardier," Bellemare says. "We will be working with Airbus to find the next best potential buyer for this business. We have a lot at stake here."

Referencing the plan for the aerostructures business, he adds: "We want to focus on business aircraft and rail, so therefore we decided it would be better for someone else to drive this."

The company will retain its aerostructures sites in Montreal, Mexico, and Red Oak, Texas.

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