Since June 25, no information has been published on the transition from Bombardier to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)
Before negotiations began with Bombardier over the CRJ, MHI had no presence in Quebec. On June 5 the two companies confirmed to be in discussion about the CRJ. At that time, MHI had never met government officials in Quebec either.
The first meeting between Quebec Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon and MHI took place in mid-June at Le Bourget. Events soon followed: a few days after the Bourget air show, Bombardier and MHI reached a final agreement on the CRJ. Bombardier’s press release on the subject stated: “Pursuant to this agreement, MHI will acquire the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing and sales activities relating to the CRJ Series aircraft, including service and support network activities located in Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, Bridgeport, West Virginia and Tucson, Arizona, as well as type certificates. “
Then in September, the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) division announced the opening of an engineering office in Montreal. A hundred people will be hired to support the certification of the SpaceJet. It is important to note that MITAC is in charge of the SpaceJet and does not deal with the CRJ.
Over the past few months, MHI has taken on the task of getting the CRJ’s staff to sign a working contract with her. As mentioned in the press release of June 25, these are mainly members of executive, management, marketing and sales, engineering, after-sales support activities, refurbishment, as well as administrative support.
Recently, several Bombardier employees working on the CRJ confirmed us that they had signed a contract with MHI. Overall, the response from Bombardier employees has been very positive to MHI. Many say they believe in the potential of the regional aircraft market and hope to contribute to the success of the SpaceJet. If we exclude the 400 people directly assigned to production, the CRJ team will be almost intact. Of the 1,700 people working at the CRJ, approximately 1,200 will find themselves employed by MHI. In the Montreal region, there should be nearly 700 people who will remain on the CRJ program.
MHI is under an obligation to quickly vacate the CRJ spaces in Mirabel to make room for Airbus and the A220. She rented offices in a building belonging to Syscomax on Boulevard Henri-Fabre in Mirabel. In the short term, CRJ employees will be dispersed in several offices in the Montreal region. MHI wants to regroup them in the same place afterwards. In less than a year, MHI’s workforce in Quebec will have grown from zero to almost 800
Mitsubishi now has two separate business units, both of which are capable of managing an aircraft program. The logic would be that certain functions like sales and marketing are combined. But Mitsubishi has yet to give any sign of moving that way.
The SpaceJet is an airplane program that had a very long gestation and many pitfalls. Certainly the arrival of more than a thousand experienced employees will help complete the process. What we cannot determine is the willingness and the ability to learn of the Japanese multinational. MHI’s intentions regarding the CRJ team therefore remain unclear.It is during the fourth quarter of 2020 that the last CRJ should leave the Mirabel plant. At the moment, the 400 Bombardier employees assigned to CRJ production are pending. No one knows what fate Bombardier has in store for them. Theoretically, union members with sufficient seniority should be able to relocate to other Bombardier plants. But it will probably take a few more months before knowing Bombardier’s plans for them.>>> Follow us on Facebook and Twitter