Bombardier announces US$200-million Moroccan plant

Canadian aerospace firm says there’s no need to worry about North American work force

November 17, 2011   by The Canadian Press

MONTREAL—Bombardier Aerospace is expanding its global manufacturing footprint by spending more than US$200 million to build an assembly plant in Morocco.

The world’s third-largest aerospace manufacturer says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the North African country to build the plant in stages over eight years.

The plant’s exact location has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to include sub-assembly capabilities for simple structures.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2013, creating 850 jobs. Details have yet to be finalized, but it’s believed the plant will build floor sections, panels and flight control services.

Morocco provides Bombardier with low manufacturing, shipping and transportation costs, proximity to Europe and a commitment from the government to develop the country’s aerospace industry.

Bombardier currently operates aerospace manufacturing facilities in Montreal, Toronto, Wichita, Kan., Belfast Northern Ireland and Mexico.

Bombardier says its North American workforce it has nothing to fear from this latest move.

Bombardier’s Aerospace president Guy Hachey, who led a delegation of 10 company executives to Morocco, said globalization of the industry has opened up new markets and new opportunities.

Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial said the Moroccan venture will likely follow a model established by Bombardier’s Mexico plant—starting small and moving labour intensive work to the lower-cost jurisdiction.

He doesn’t believe there will be any impact on employment at Bombardier’s North American facilities, which have grown since operations began in Mexico

“Bombardier’s got some ambitious growth plans here with the CSeries and the new Learjet and Globals, there’s going to be lots of work,” he said. “They’re not going to move aircraft assembly operations to Morocco. That’s not happening any time soon and it’s not happening in Mexico any time soon.”

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