On December 27, the Montreal Gazette printed Fasten your seat belts as airlines up ante1, an account of the state of current competition in the Canadian airline.
Bombardier Aerospace has a lot at stake. Air Canada is looking to replace its single aisle planes and Bombardier is pulling for its CSeries jets to feature in Air Canada’s purchase plans. Air Canada will decide on the aircraft of choice in about six months and will deal a blow to Bombardier if the company can’t sell its new jet, almost six years and billions of dollars in the making, in the place where it is assembled. Enter Porter Airlines.
Porter Airlines’ conditional order for 30 jets, 12 firm orders and 18 options, is due to expire in a few days since city council has yet to vote on allowing jets at the island airport. However, Porter spokesperson Brad Cicero wasn’t saying if the deadline had been extended. It’s a far stretch to believe that the deadline won’t be extended; otherwise, why is the Porter jet request of city council still in play?
So, the scene is set to play out at council in less than five weeks. A ‘no’ vote likely punches a hole in any momentum Bombardier hopes to gain in order to convince Air Canada to buy in. If there is any doubt about the pressure on council to make the right corporate decision, consider the words of Bombardier president Pierre Beaudoin who stated, “I think the CSeries would be a great demonstrator (of it short-runway attributes), like Bob Deluce did with the Q400.”
If Councillor Augimeri’s experience with the Bombardier employees who work in her ward is anything to go by, the push for her to vote for jets is overwhelming. Reports say that not only will the union not work on her campaign, its members will actively work against her.