Boeing invests $240 million to create aerospace innovation zone in the Montreal area

Boeing, a giant in the aircraft manufacturing sector, is investing $240 million in a partnership with the Quebec government to create an aerospace innovation zone in the Montreal area.

Total investments for the project amount to 415 million dollars. The Quebec government contributes $85 million.

Prime Minister François Legault and Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon unveiled the project Tuesday during an annual international aerospace forum in Montreal.

“It is for the benefit of all of society because we create very well-paying jobs,” Legault said.

But it’s not just about creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs, he said. “The goal, if we want to create wealth, is to replace lower-paid jobs with better-paid jobs.”

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Quebec Premier François Legault speaks at the International Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montreal on Tuesday. (Christinne Muschi/Canadian Press)

Boeing Co. is expanding its important presence in Canada by becoming the anchor tenant of this project and strengthening its presence in a country where it already has more than 500 suppliers.

Boeing’s $240 million investment makes up the bulk of $330 million coming from several private companies including Pratt & Whitney Canada, Airbus, Bombardier, Flying Whales Québec and Thales Canada.

Brendan Nelson, global president of Boeing, said Montreal has the world’s leading aviation research and development facility.

“That’s why we’re here,” he said.

The announcement comes as Boeing has been experiencing problems with its 737 Max Airliners program. Technical problems with its 737 Max planes have been in the news this year.

In March, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun announced he would leave the company at the end of the year as part of a broader management shakeup, ending more than five tumultuous years that have shaken faith in one of the world’s oldest manufacturers. United States history. .

Boeing says it is working with regulators to address those issues, and Quebec’s premier said he trusts the company.

Several men and a woman walking towards the camera.
Quebec Premier François Legault, right, arrives to make an announcement at the International Aerospace Innovation Forum in Montreal on Tuesday. (Christinne Muschi/Canadian Press)

John Gradek, a McGill University professor with expertise in commercial aviation management issues, said operations in Quebec will be primarily research and development.

“The problems they have with safety and quality on their production line are totally independent of what they are doing in Quebec,” he said.

The plan announced Tuesday is part of an effort by the Quebec government to make the province a leader in aerospace technology.

The innovation zone will operate in the Saint-Laurent district of Montreal and in the cities of Longueuil and Mirabel. It will be called Espace Aéro and will be overseen by Aéro Montréal, an aerospace business strategy center that aims to grow the industry in Quebec. It will include a development center as well as aircraft research and training programs.

“It fits perfectly not only with industrial commercialization, but also with research and development, so we are very excited that this plane has finally landed,” said Alan DeSousa, mayor of the Saint-Laurent district.

Espace Aéro will have the mandate to “enhance Quebec’s attractiveness in the aerospace space” and make it a “world leader in decarbonization and advanced air mobility,” according to a Tuesday press release.

The innovation zone would also be the fourth in the province. Here are the other three:

  • Sherbrooke: quantum information.
  • Bromont: digital technologies.
  • Bécancour, Shawanigan and Trois-Rivières: energy transition for batteries.