November 15, 2017 / 9:03 PM / a year ago

Bombardier plans hiring spree for business jet program: sources

The Bombardier logo is seen at the Bombardier factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc expects to hire around 1,000 workers in Montreal over 18 months, as the Canadian plane and train maker ramps up production of its new Global 7000 business jet, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

An announcement about the jobs, which are for completion work on the new corporate jet, is expected as early as Friday, said two of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the latest figure is not yet public.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier business jets could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bombardier has said the Global 7000 is expected to enter service next year and is sold out until 2021.

The hiring comes at a time when Montreal’s aerospace industry is facing a shortage of labor, with companies actively recruiting and encouraging enrollment at specialized training centers. According to data from the industry group Aero Montreal, almost 32,000 aerospace positions will need to be filled in Quebec over the next 10 years, both for new positions and to replace retiring workers.

“It is very difficult,” said one of the sources, an aerospace supplier who said he needed to consider hiring workers abroad.

While Bombardier has not announced a specific figure, the company has previously said it would hire workers for its new plane programs, the CSeries single-aisle jets and the Global 7000, even as it sheds thousands of employees through 2018 as part of a five-year turnaround plan.

According to the company’s 2016 annual report, the most recent figures available, the company had 66,000 employees last year, down from 70,900 in 2015.

Bombardier had 9,400 employees in its business jet division as of 2016.

Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Susan Thomas and Jonathan Oatis

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