Small Company Beats Bombardier For Huge Contract
A consortium led by an obscure British Columbia company has beaten Bombardier for one of the juiciest contracts ever tendered by the Canadian government. And Bombardier isn't taking it very well. Allied Wings, led by Kelowna Flightcraft, of Kelowna, B.C. (about 200 miles east of Vancouver) was awarded a 22-year, $1.77 billion (CAD) contract to provide flight training for the Canadian Armed Forces. Bombardier previously held the contract. The actual training will take place at new facilities to be built in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. News leaked about the decision more than a week ago and Bombardier, which is based in Quebec, openly accused the federal government of rigging the bidding process to favor the Kelowna bid as a way of shoring up Western Canadian political support for the ruling Liberal Party. Not so, two senior federal cabinet ministers told AVweb Wednesday at a news conference in Kelowna. "This had nothing to do with regional politics," said Industry Minister David Emerson. "We selected the best bid for Canada." Earlier this week, a senior executive with Bombardier accused the government of altering the bid process to make it possible for the Allied Wings bid to be considered. Zev Rosenzwieg told the Globe and Mail that Flightcraft couldn't raise financing the way the bid was originally structured so the bid rules were changed. "Where I come from, when you have a competition and one party can't meet the requirements, then they can't bid," Rosenzweig said. Defense Minister Bill Graham told the Kelowna news conference that the government has "taken the politics out" of the tendering process. Past governments have been accused of currying favor with Quebec voters by awarding big contracts to Bombardier. The new center will provide ab initio and advanced fixed-wing and helicopter training.