Bombardier Works Real Estate Deals

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Announces Sale of Belfast City Airport ...

On May 23, Bombardier Inc. announced the sale of the Belfast City Airport to Ferrovial of Spain, for a total of C$77.7 million (pounds sterling 35 million). This sale is part of Bombardier's recapitalization program, which was unveiled on April 3. The airport was a subsidiary of the aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers division, which was purchased by Bombardier in 1989 and which now forms an integral part of the aerospace manufacturer's interests.

Although it has unloaded the airport from its hands, Bombardier's presence in Northern Ireland continues through its manufacturing operation in Belfast, which employs 5,700 people. This facility plays a major role in the design and manufacture of Bombardier regional and business aircraft.

You may recall AVweb's recent reports on the company's ongoing phase of budget cuts and cost-cutting. However, Bombardier has also experienced a welcomed phase of growth, with the recall of many employees and the announcement of a new engine line for general aviation aircraft.

... But Keeps Its Wichita Plant

Aside from the recall of some employees, Bombardier's other good news is that it will keep building the Learjet 60, 45 and 40 in Wichita. It is also currently building two other bizjets, the Lear 45XR and Challenger 300, in Wichita, but CEO Paul Tellier did not mention those models in a recent interview with The Wichita Eagle. He did, however, say he was pleased with the red-carpet treatment Bombardier has been getting from local and state governments. "They are doing everything they can to provide an environment conducive to us being competitive," Tellier said. Earlier this year, Bombardier announced that one or more of its six plants worldwide would close and hinted that Wichita had the highest costs. Seeing the writing on the wall, employees stepped up with a wage freeze and benefit concessions. The city recently then forgave $36,000 a year in rent on land, and the city and county agreed to split the $550,000 cost of paving Learjet Way. The local government is also making a pitch on Bombardier's behalf to fund improved navaids at the airport. Now, according to spokeswoman Dominque Dionne, there are no plant closures planned and the company continues work with staff to reduce costs.