A salon to close the eclipse

(London) After a two-year solar eclipse, Québec aviation companies are attending a major event for the first time, the Farnborough International Air Show, where they can finally reconnect with their customers and suppliers and rebuild the people-to-people connections vital to their good cohesion are essential.

Posted at 6:30am

“We are one business Follow-up is about seeing and speaking to our customers in person, knowing their projects, their needs and their expectations, and constantly re-evaluating our relationship based on achieving common goals,” Quebec Aeronautics CEOs and advisors met in London on Saturday night.

The latter attended a reception organized by Aéro Montréal, the aerospace industry cluster, on the sidelines of the opening of the Farnborough Air Show this Monday morning, the first major international event of its kind since the 2019 Paris Air Show.

If contractual expectations are not disproportionate, the mere prospect of reconnecting with the numerous players in the great globalized chain of aviation has increased the enthusiasm of participants too happy to break with the enforced isolation of the last two years.


Patrick Champagne, Senior Consultant, CMC Electronics

We come to our clients to ensure we meet their needs, and most importantly, to discuss their upcoming projects and align our efforts.

Patrick Champagne, Senior Consultant, CMC Electronics

Patrick Champagne was a long-time vice president, research and development, of the former Marconi, specializing in electronic systems and avionics, which employs 700 specialists at its facility in the Saint-Laurent neighborhood of Montreal.

“It’s complicated meeting the Malaysian defense chief to find out if our training systems are working well. At Farnborough we can visit all of our customers to talk about a wide range of topics,” he emphasises.

At Héroux-Devtek, designer and manufacturer of landing gear in Longueuil, we plan about a hundred meetings with customers and suppliers from all over the world. The heads of sales, engineering and management will share this interpersonal exchange.

“After three years, it feels good to meet our customers, especially those outside of North America. We can better assess our priorities in the short and medium term,” explains Martin Brassard, CEO of Héroux-Devtek.


A scalable delegation

Quebec’s aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 and aviation crisis. Total industry revenue, which was nearly $18 billion in 2019, fell to $15.2 billion in 2021. The number of jobs in the industry, which stood at 43,400 three years ago, was just over 35,000 at the end of 2021.

“The situation is changing quickly. The recovery is strong and companies are looking to hire, but the industry is now facing a labor shortage. We continue to expect to end the year with an additional 3,000 to 4,000 employees. We plan to launch a major recruitment campaign in September,” says Suzanne Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal.

“We have a good delegation of 35 companies and 75 attendees at the Farnborough Show this year. In addition to the usual participants, this year we welcome new players, especially from the aerospace industry startups High-tech. »


Suzanne Benoit, CEO of Aero Montreal

In addition, there are new challenges such as urban mobility, the decarbonization of air transport and the formation of new supply chains with the advent of green hydrogen. Québec wants to position itself well in these emerging sectors.

Suzanne Benoit, CEO of Aero Montreal

The Quebec delegation is not limited to companies in the sector: Minister for Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon and President of Investissement Quebec Guy LeBlanc are present in London, as is Federal Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.

The Farnborough International Air Show is also the first major commercial aviation event to take place without the presence of Bombardier, which was an Airbus partner in 2019.

Let’s not hide it, for more than 20 years, Bombardier was the big umbrella under which the entire Quebec aviation sector developed internationally. It was the calling card that gave credibility to the entire Quebec industry.

“It is certain that in relation to brandingBombardier’s absence may be noticeable, but in terms of business it has no impact on the companies represented at the Farnborough Air Show,” notes Suzanne Benoît.

As prime contractor, will Airbus be able to take on the position of an industrial leader capable of galvanizing all of Quebec’s aviation industry?

“I think we’ve become a strong Quebec company. With our activities in the military and helicopter sectors, we are the fourth player in the industry in Canada. Our contribution to the industry is stronger than the A-220 alone, but we have reinvested in Quebec and sent the signal that we are here for the long term,” said Benoît Schultz, CEO of Airbus Canada.

“We have 2,500 employees in Mirabel, 3,000 if we count our employees at Stelia. Our nerve center will remain in Quebec. »

Over the next few days, we will be able to assess the health of the global aerospace industry and the Montreal region, which has long been considered one of the industry capitals after Toulouse and Seattle.

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