Bombardier is currently in “advanced discussions” with the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to sell its CRJ regional aircraft program.
An announcement could be made in Paris Air Show, in two weeks, according to The Air Current which was the first to reveal the information.
Bombardier confirmed on June 5, 2019, that it was discussing the future of its CRJ program with its Japanese counterpart, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. However, the Canadian manufacturer added that the approval of Bombardier’s board and a “due diligence review and own analysis and approval process” of Mitsubishi were still required. “There can be no assurance that such discussions will ultimately result in an agreement,” it said in its statement.
Mitsubishi also confirmed by email to Canadian media La Presse that discussions were ongoing, but that “no decision [had] been taken”. The Japanese company had previously hinted that such an announcement would be made during the Paris Air Show, stating it was “ready to not only redefine this global market but to also capture it. “
On October 19, 2018, Bombardier sued Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States, accusing the Japanese company of illegally acquiring some secret documents by hiring former employees of the Canadian plane maker. The Japanese manufacturer counterattacked with its own legal action accusing its Canadian competitor of wanting to delay or even prevent the development and certification of its regional aircraft, the MRJ.
The sale of the CRJ program would mean that in a little bit more than a year, Bombardier would have almost completely withdrawn from the commercial aviation industry. Indeed, on June 8, 2018, the company had sold the majority of its share in the CSeries program to Airbus, which since renamed the aircraft A220. In November 2018, Viking Air who had previously acquired Bombardier’s Amphibious Aircraft program in 2016 took over the Q400 for $300 million. The latter should now be sold under the De Havilland Aircraft of Canada brand, revived for the occasion.