Quebec aerospace industry ready to relaunch but is missing one ingredient, it says: federal funding

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MONTREAL — The Quebec aerospace sector has a recipe for weathering the severe financial troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it says one ingredient is still missing: a financial boost from Ottawa.

Mélanie Joly, the federal minister of economic development, said on Monday that she wanted to preserve the “attractiveness” of the industry. But it wasn't clear if sectoral assistance – which many stakeholders are calling for – will be announced soon.

When asked about the recent unveiling of an action plan to support the aerospace and aviation sectors, prepared jointly by Aéro Montréal and the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM), Joly pointed out some difficulties with it, without moving forward on a deadline.

People in the sector are calling for Canada to imitate countries like France, the United Kingdom and Germany by deploying various supportive measures.

Since the start of the health crisis, around 4,300 jobs have been lost in the Quebec aerospace industry. The axe has fallen at many companies, including Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Airbus Canada.

While the industry's road-map document suggests many possible solutions, it says a “robust and rapid intervention is called for.” The action plan, prepared by Aéro Montréal and the CCMM, says this is true not only for manufacturing companies but also for air carriers and airports.

The report suggests that in order for Quebec to maintain third place internationally in aerospace, it needs investment in research and development projects -- in particular for a “green” aircraft, financial support for airlines, and development of the defence sector.

The document also says it's necessary to resume domestic and international flights in a “safe” manner.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020. 

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