Bombardier has taken a strategic decision to refocus its activities onto business aviation, having reached a deal to sell its rail division to Alstom.

The deal, announced on Monday (17 February) is worth around $4.5 billion for Bombardier and will strengthen the balance sheet and help reduce the company’s outstanding $9 billion debt.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellamare said the deal marked “an exciting new chapter”: “Going forward, we will focus all our capital, energy and resources on accelerating growth and driving margin expansion in our market-leading $7 billion business aircraft franchise.”

Bombardier’s business aviation unit includes the Global, Challenger and Learjet business jet families along with an aftermarket division which supports around 4,800 aircraft worldwide.


“Our future is in aerospace”


Bellemare added: “With a stronger balance sheet after the completion of this transaction, an industry-leading portfolio of products, a strong backlog, and a rapidly growing aftermarket business, we will compete in this market from a position of strength.”

“Our future in aerospace is with our industry-leading business jet franchise and we see tremendous opportunities,” Bellemare said.

Over the past couple of years, Bombardier has sold or is in the process of selling, all of its commercial aviation interests, along with the CL-415 water bomber programme, to pay off its debts, much of which was attributable to the development costs of the CSeries – renamed the A220 after Airbus acquired a majority stake in the programme in 2018. Bombardier completed its CSeries exit with the sale of its remaining 31 per cent stake in the A220 to Airbus on February 12.

Bombardier says its business aviation unit has “a clear path for growth, margin expansion and solid cash generation” with performance expected to be driven by the large-cabin segment, in particular the flagship Global 7500, and recently certificated Global 6500 and 5500.

A statement for Bombardier added: “Underlying this growth, is continued global economic growth, the further expansion of charter and fractional ownership business models, and a replacement cycle supported by newer and more efficient aircraft.”

Bombardier recorded a five-unit increase in deliveries last year to 142 aircraft – 54 Globals, 76 Challengers and 12 Learjets. It describes its $14.4 billion aircraft backlog, as “the largest in the industry.”