Bombardier to cut 1,750 jobs, 15 pct, in business-jet unit

Thu May 14, 2015 10:11am EDT
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By Allison Lampert and Allison Martell

MONTREAL/TORONTO (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc said Thursday it plans to cut 1,750 jobs in its business-jet division, about 15 percent of jobs in that unit, due to weaker demand, in the latest setback for the Canadian train and aircraft maker.

The company said last week it would cut production of Global jets, its largest business aircraft, after orders plummeted.

"Economic conditions and geopolitical issues in some market regions, such as Latin America, China and Russia, have impacted order intake levels industrywide," the company said.

The cuts represent about 2.5 percent of the company's staff worldwide.

Bombardier's commercial aircraft business has been in the spotlight as it has struggled to bring its new CSeries jet into service. Business aircraft are the profitable core of the aerospace business, earning $96 million before interest and taxes in the first quarter, up 7 percent from a year earlier, while the commercial aircraft business lost $9 million.

Net business aircraft orders dropped to 19 from 46 a year earlier in the first quarter, with weakness in the Global program, according to Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare.

Separately, in January, the company suspended development of its new Learjet 85 on weak demand, and cut 1,000 jobs.

Bombardier is developing successors to the Global 5000/6000, the Global 7000/8000. A test plane is in production, and Bellemare has said the order book is "very strong," but it wasn't clear when the planes will go into service.   Continued...

Employees leave work at a Bombardier plant in Montreal, in a file photo. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi