Bombardier has announced the sale of its turboprop commercial aircraft business to the parent company of Canada-based aircraft manufacturer Viking Air for CAD$300 million.
The sale to Longview Aviation Capital was announced as part of Bombardier’s third quarter results on Thursday (Canada time) and covers the in-production Q400 as well as all assets, intellectual property and type certificates associated with the out-of-production Dash 8 series – 100, 200 and 300 – aircraft.
Separately, Bombardier also said it would sell its business aircraft’s flight and technical training activities to CAE for CAD$800 million.
The company said the sale of these “non-core assets” was in line with its strategy of streamlining its portfolio and “focusing on growth opportunities in its transportation, business aircraft and aerostructures segments”.
“With today’s announcements we have set in motion the next round of actions necessary to unleash the full potential of the Bombardier portfolio,” Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said in a statement.
“During the earnings and cash flow building phase of our turnaround, we will continue to be proactive in focusing and streamlining the organisation, and disciplined in the allocation of capital. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and very excited about our future.”
Longview Aviation Capital said the deal also included the company taking responsibility for the worldwide product support, covering more than 1,000 aircraft either currently in service or slated for production.
“The Dash 8 turboprop is the perfect complement to our existing portfolio of specialised aircraft including the Twin Otter and the Canadair CL 215 and 415 series of water bombers,” Longview Aviation Capital chief executive David Curtis said in a statement.
“We see enormous value in the de Havilland Dash 8 program, with these aircraft in demand and in use all around the world.”
The sale of the Q400 program is expected to be completed by the second half of 2019.
Longview Aviation Capital said it would continue to operate the turboprop program at the current manufacturing site located at Downsview, Ontario once the deal closed.
While the Downsview site was sold by Bombardier in May 2018, the lease terms ensured production would remain there until at least 2021.
“We are committed to a business-as-usual approach that will see no interruption to the production, delivery and support of these outstanding aircraft,” Curtis said.
“With the entire de Havilland product line reunited under the same banner for the first time in decades, we look forward to working with customers, suppliers and employees upon close of the transaction to determine what opportunities lie ahead.”
Viking Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital, recently started building the DHC-6 Twin Otter after a long period where the type was out of production.
The company also holds the type certificates for out-of-production DHC-1 through to DHC-7 de Havilland aircraft.
Meanwhile, Bombardier’s third-quarter results show there are 66 outstanding orders for Q400 aircraft at September 30.
In this part of the world, Qantas’s regional fleet includes 45 Dash 8 aircraft flown under the QantasLink brand by subsidiaries.
This comprises 31 Q400s flown by Sunstate Airlines, as well as 16 Dash 8-Q300s and three Dash 8-Q200 flown by Eastern Australia Airlines both under the QantasLink banner in Australia and for Jetstar in New Zealand. All aircraft are going through a refurbishment program due to finish by the end of 2019.
It leaves Bombardier with just the CRJ program, which comprises the CRJ700, CRJ900 and CRJ1000. There were 56 orders for the CRJ at September 30.
Bombardier said the sale of the CSeries and Q400 would allow the company to turn its “full attention” to the CRJ.
“As we continue to actively participate in the regional aircraft market with our established, scope-compliant aircraft, our focus is on reducing cost and increasing volumes while optimising the aftermarket for the approximately 1,500 CRJs in service around the world today,” Bombardier said.
“As we look to return the CRJ to profitability, we will also explore strategic options for the program.”
Bombardier said the sale of its business aircraft flight training unit also included an extension of CAE’s authorised training provider relationship where CAE would prepay all royalties under the new agreement.
“This transaction provides Bombardier’s Business Aircraft customers the benefit of CAE’s training expertise, while Bombardier focuses on aircraft development and services,” Bombardier said.
Separately, Bombardier said it would cut about 5,000 staff over the next 12-18 months as part of a major restructuring program to increase productivity.
“With the heavy aerospace investment phase behind the corporation, it is right-sizing its central aerospace engineering team, enabling the reduction of capital spending anticipated for 2019 and 2020,” Bombardier said.
“It is also redeploying key engineering team members to its Business Aircraft, Transportation and Aerostructures segments, ensuring it has all the necessary capabilities to continue leading innovation in the industries.”
Bombardier had been working to reduce the debt that built up during the development of the CSeries program.
VIDEO: A QantasLink Dash 8-200 taking off from Lord Howe Island Airport from wiiwheel64’s YouTube channel.
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