Bombardier Aviation cutting 2,500 workers as pandemic kills 400,000 worldwide

Company will take a US$40 million charge for 2020 and after rail divestment, will remain solely a business jet maker

Bombardier Challenger 850
(PHOTO: Bombardier)

Bombardier Aviation announced cut its workforce by 2,500 employees as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ground aviation worldwide, forcing airlines and other plane makers and suppliers to cut costs, lay off workers and cut back on production.

A screenshot of the COVID-19 tracking map from Johns Hopkins University taken on 8 June. To access the live site click on the image. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

When the pandemic first arose, Bombardier Aviation responded quickly, suspending manufacturing operations to support local government efforts to slow the spread of the virus and to protect the health and safety of employees, partners and customers, the company said in a statement. “Now with business jet deliveries, industry-wide, forecasted to be down approximately 30 percent year-over-year due to the pandemic, Bombardier must adjust its operations and workforce to ensure that it emerges from the current crisis on solid footing”.

Bombardier’s Global 7500 is its newest jet and the company had big hopes for it before COVID-19 hit. (PHOTO: Bombardier Aviation)
David Coleal, president of Bombardier Aviation. (PHOTO: Bombardier Aviation)

“We are now faced with the difficult decision to adjust the size of our business, considering both disruptions in our supply chain as well as industry-wide forecasts calling for approximately 30 percent year-over-year drops in unit deliveries due to the pandemic,” David Coleal, president of Bombardier Aviation, said in a memo to workers about the layoffs, according to media reports. The majority of the reductions will impact manufacturing operations in Canada and will be carried out progressively throughout 2020, the company added. Bombardier’s worldwide customer service operations have continued to operate largely uninterrupted throughout the pandemic. Bombardier expects to record a special charge of approximately US$40 million in 2020 for this workforce adjustment and will provide further information on its market outlook when it reports its second quarter financial results in August.

Bombardier Aviation spokesman Mark Masluch said the company is starting to scale back production, but he would not give specifics. The company, which recently exited the commercial aircraft business, is in the process of selling its rail business to French train maker Alstom for US$7.02 billion. The sale would leave Bombardier solely as a business jet maker.

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