UPDATE 2-Canada probe of Bombardier aid bid complete; decision due soon -source

Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:41am EDT
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(Adds comments from Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau)

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL, March 17 (Reuters) - Canada's government has finished studying a request from struggling planemaker Bombardier Inc for $1 billion in aid and is preparing to make an announcement within weeks, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Bombardier wants the money to help finance its new CSeries passenger jet, which faces tough competition from Europe's Airbus Group SE and the United States' Boeing Co .

The company is based in Quebec, which last October invested $1 billion in the CSeries, and now Bombardier and the province want Ottawa to follow suit to help protect thousands of well-paid jobs.

"The due diligence is done," the source said. "The government is preparing to make an announcement in a matter of weeks, not months."

Bombardier formally asked for federal help on Dec. 11, and the two sides are still talking about what form possible aid could take, the source added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Bloomberg Television on Thursday that the CSeries was a "fabulous" plane and cited what he said was significant support planemakers Airbus, Boeing and Brazil's Embraer SA received from their respective governments.

Pressed on the timing of a possible announcement about aid, he replied: "We're taking our time ... to make sure we're doing the right thing in the interests of the Canadian industry and high-quality jobs" as well as respecting taxpayers.   Continued...