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Bombardier mulls factory in Morocco
05/09/2011 - Général

Bombardier mulls factory in Morocco
Aerospace firm seeks low-cost production site

MONTREAL — Bombardier is considering whether to open an airplane manufacturing facility in Morocco as it seeks to expand its low-cost production, the aerospace giant confirmed Friday.

"We’re looking at various opportunities in strategic and emerging economies but no decision has been made at this point," spokeswoman Haley Dunne said in an interview.

She couldn’t say when a decision may be made or whether it would have an impact on employment at existing Bombardier manufacturing sites in Canada or abroad.

"We have had success in Mexico as part of our larger strategy for production and improving competitiveness and reducing costs (so) we’re looking at many different sites," she added.

Aerospace division president Guy Hachey told an industrial conference attended by the Moroccan king in Casablanca on Thursday that it is weighing three options: expand operations in Mexico, establish an industrial base in an emerging country near Europe, or expand its supplier base in Europe.

Besides Morocco, Bombardier is also looking at Turkey.

Bombardier has no manufacturing facilities in Morocco but works with several companies based in that country.

European and North American companies are said to employ about 10,000 people in Morocco’s aeronautics sector, mainly at an industrial park near the Nouaceur airport in the Casablanca region.

A trade institute soon set to open is expected to eventually train 800 students per year in various aeronautical trades.

While the Middle East and North African region is in political turmoil, Hachey said he was confident about investing in Morocco because of its stability and reforms, according to business publication L’Usine Nouvelle.

Bombardier Aerospace employs more than 27,000 people at facilities in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Northern Ireland.

About half of the workforce is based in Montreal and Mirabel. Another 3,900 work in Toronto and North Bay, Ont., 2,467 in Wichita, Kansas, 1,600 in Mexico and 5,335 in Belfast.

The world’s third-largest aerospace manufacturer entered the industry with the purchase of Montreal-based Canadair in December 1986.

It acquired Short Brothers, Europe’s oldest aircraft manufacturer, in 1989, Learjet in 1990 and de Havilland in 1992.

In 2005 in announced plans to invest US$200 million over seven years to build a plant in Queretaro, Mexico.

A consortium involving Bombardier Transportation has won a US$1.1-billion tender to participate in a private-public partnership to build and operate a light rail system in Australia’s Queensland state.

Source: The chronicle herald