ombardier’s CEO Alain Bellemare speaks to the media at the company’s center of excellence last month in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Bombardier’s Bellemare says Alabama assembly line is needed with or without duties

MIRABEL, Que. — Bombardier Inc. needs an Alabama assembly line regardless of whether the United States proceeds with massive duties on imports of the company’s C Series commercial jets, CEO Alain Bellemare said Thursday.

Bellemare said he was disappointed but not surprised by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision Wednesday to impose duties of 292.21 per cent.

“There’s disappointment because in my opinion nothing justifies this decision but the most important decision will be the USITC’s,” he told The Canadian Press.

A final decision rests with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is expected to decide in February whether Boeing was harmed by the C Series.

Boeing launched the trade case in April, arguing that governments in Canada and Britain subsidized the plane’s development which allowed Bombardier to sell it at unfairly low prices.

Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, reached a deal with Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) in October to purchase a 50.01 per cent stake in the C Series commercial jet and plans to build an assembly line in Alabama for American customers while maintaining the primary line in Mirabel, Que.

Bellemare said the Alabama facility is crucial to a deal Bombardier has to provide Delta Air Lines with 75 CS100 planes.

“What was clear for us is that adding an American assembly line to make the product (the C Series) American was a solution that allowed us to secure the Delta order,” Bellemare said in the end-of-the-year interview.

Bombardier says the new Alabama assembly line will bring about $300 million in new foreign direct investment and add 400 to 500 direct jobs on top of the almost 23,000 supported by the C Series through its supply base.

Delta was originally expected to receive the first of its firm order for 75 CS100 planes next spring, but now plans to wait until the aircraft destined for U.S. customers is built in the U.S. south.

Some observers believe Boeing’s complaints are unfounded because the CS100 is not a direct rival of anything Boeing makes.

Bellemare said he believes Bombardier has a “real chance” of winning the dispute but that he still “anticipates the worst.”

Just Posted

Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in Edmonton for climate rally; counter-rally planned

EDMONTON — Albertans are planning to hit Edmonton’s streets today to support… Continue reading

Facebook CEO defends refusal to take down some content

WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended the social media… Continue reading

Deep-sea explorers seek out sunken World War II ships

Deep-sea explorers scouring the world’s oceans for sunken World War II ships… Continue reading

Fewer than 850 irregular border crossers deported, hundreds more in limbo

Multiple options for appeals, diplomatic difficulties and changing global conditions mean only… Continue reading

Rural crime tour hits Sylvan Lake

About 60 people showed up to voice concerns about state of crime and punishment in Alberta

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Meet the candidates running in Red Deer-Lacombe

Each of the candidates running in the Red Deer-Lacombe riding were invited… Continue reading

FIFA claims 82M TV audience for Women’s World Cup final

ZURICH — FIFA research says the Women’s World Cup final drew an… Continue reading

Basketball fans welcome former Raptor Kawhi Leonard back to Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Kawhi Leonard had a tough night on the court Thursday,… Continue reading

CBS signs Stephen Colbert to 3-year extension

NEW YORK — Stephen Colbert will be sticking around for four more… Continue reading

Country artists bring tears, prayers to CMT awards show

NASHVILLE — Country music artists cried together and prayed together at an… Continue reading

Kawhi back in Canada, NBA GMs think he’ll go back to finals

Kawhi Leonard was back in Canada, where last season he won a… Continue reading

Saskatchewan Roughriders aim to bring home energy on the road to B.C. Lions

VANCOUVER — The Saskatchewan Roughriders are hoping they can bring the spirit… Continue reading

Most Read