Bombardier has entered into a definitive agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries regarding the sale of the CRJ regional aircraft program for $550 million.
Under the agreement, announced on June 25, 2019, the Japanese manufacturer will acquire maintenance, support, upgrade, marketing and sales activities for the CRJ Series aircraft, also including service and support network activities located in Montreal and Toronto, as well as in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona. Mitsubishi will also take over liabilities amounting to approximately $200 million.
Bombardier will keep the CRJ production facility in Mirabel, Québec, and should continue to supply components and spare parts and build CRJ aircraft from the current order book on behalf of Mitsubishi. According to the Canadian manufacturer, CRJ production is expected to conclude in the second half of 2020, following the delivery of the current backlog of aircraft.
The sale of the CRJ program means that in a little bit more than a year, Bombardier has almost completely withdrawn from commercial aviation industry. Indeed, on June 8, 2018, the company sold the majority of its shares in the CSeries program to Airbus, which since renamed the aircraft A220. In November 2018, Viking Air, which had previously acquired Bombardier’s Amphibious Aircraft program in 2016, took over the Q400 for $300 million.
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.