Airbus, Quebec join forces in bid to buy out Bombardier’s A220 stake

FRANCE– Airbus has teamed up with the Quebec government to buy Bombardier’s 33.5% stake in the A220 passenger jet program.

The deal completes Bombardier’s exit from civil aviation and boosting Airbus’s position in a new battleground with Boeing.

Montreal-based Bombardier first ceded control of the A220 program to Airbus in 2018 for a token as part of broader efforts to improve its finances.

Under the terms of the deal, Airbus’s stake in the A220 program – known as Airbus Canada – increases to 75% from 50.1%, while Quebec’s holding rises to 25%.

The deal, according to the Quebec government will secure more than 3,300 Airbus jobs in the province.

It will also result in the taking over of Bombardier’s share of A220 ramp-up costs by the European aerospace group and Canadian province, while Bombardier will receive $591 million net of adjustments.

The deal also postpones until 2026 the agreed date when Airbus can buy out Quebec’s stake in the A220 program, three years later than originally planned.

The province increased its stake for “no cash consideration”, the companies said, in return for its bigger share of the funding burden.

The A220, previously known as the CSeries, is a 110-130 seater aircraft, targeted at regional aviation markets and a little smaller than Airbus’s mainstay A320 jet.

The European group’s move into that smaller market has been mirrored by U.S. rival Boeing’s (BA.N) planned tie-up with Brazilian regional jet manufacturer Embraer and opens a new front in the battle between the two planemaking giants.

Bombardier said the sale would help the company – which faced a cash crunch in 2015 – to improve its financial position. Bombardier on Thursday reported a quarterly loss.

“This transaction supports our efforts to address our capital structure and completes our strategic exit from commercial aerospace,” President and Chief Executive Alain Bellemare said.

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