What Could Bombardier Layoffs In Quebec Mean For Vermont's Aerospace Industry?

Nov 9, 2018

Montreal-based aircraft maker Bombardier is cutting 2,500 jobs in Quebec. But at least one economic development booster in Vermont thinks there could be new opportunities for the state's manufacturers.

The layoffs come after Bombardier's deal with Airbus to build the C Series line of passenger jets. Those planes are now called the Airbus A220.

In Vermont, about 250 companies feed into the global supply chain for aerospace and defense — but few of them currently contract directly with Bombardier, according to Chris Carrigan, vice president of business development at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Carrigan said he thinks companies could now work with Airbus.

“The merger and acquisition, essentially, of Bombardier by Airbus Americas will, in my opinion and hopefully, provide aerospace manufacturers with additional supply chain opportunities with Airbus," Carrigan said.

Aerospace manufacturing and aviation currently create $2 billion in economic output in Vermont, according to the state chamber of commerce. Carrigan thinks that sector could stand to grow, with links to nearby aerospace manufacturing clusters in both Quebec and Connecticut.

"We have an opportunity really to create and build an aerospace trade corridor, and to facilitate connections, new business opportunities and new contracts for Vermont companies," Carrigan said.

North of the border meanwhile, the Bombardier layoffs have riled political and union leaders. In addition to the layoffs, the transportation manufacturer will also sell off one of its series of smaller aircraft and its flight training division.

Bombardier has a presence in several regions of the United States, including a rail car plant in Plattsburgh. The company also once had a rail car plant in Vermont, but the Barre Town facility closed for good in 2004, according to the Rutland Herald.