The axe falls again

Le couperet tombe encore

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Manufacturers have lowered production rates as the airlines have nailed their airplanes on the ground, delayed deliveries and cancelled orders.

The paralysis of the commercial aviation caused by the pandemic COVID-19 continues to kill jobs in the aerospace cluster in quebec, a trend that could continue as the effects of the crisis are likely to take some time to dissipate.

Héroux-Devtek, which manufactures landing gear and other parts for aerospace, announced on Tuesday that it will eliminate 10 % of its workforce, or 225 people, of which 125 are located in Québec, in addition to closing the montreal plant of Alta Precision acquired last year.

“On the side of the wide-bodied aircraft, we see decreases ranging from 30 % to 50 % of the production rate, has been explained by the chairman and chief executive officer of the company, Martin Cuff, during a telephone interview with The canadian Press. At Boeing, there has been a reduction rate of the 777 and the 777X — which the landing gear is supplied by Heroux-Devtek — and for Airbus it’s the same. “Boeing represents about one quarter of the annual income of Héroux-Devtek.

Based in Longueuil, the company relies on its defence sector, which accounted for about two-thirds of its backlog of 839 million as of December 31, to weather the storm. “For civil aviation, I agree with the analyses that we will feel the impacts for two to three years, unless we find a vaccine or a treatment,” said Mr. Cuff.

Elsewhere in Québec, the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada, which counts some 2,400 union-represented workers, will eliminate most of 343 jobs, as the backlog is less trimmed. On the side of the partnership, Airbus Canada, it is 350 with temporary layoffs that have been performed in Mirabel, where it also delayed the acceleration of the rate of production of the A220.

Manufacturers have lowered production rates as the airlines, hit by restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19, have nailed their airplanes on the ground, delayed deliveries and cancelled orders.

On Monday, Air Canada reported that it would take more than three before they recover from the crisis. In the United States, the billionaire Warren Buffett, the head of the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, has liquidated all of its investments in the major airlines and the secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, said he could not be certain that the international travel will resume this year.

According to the data of Aero Montreal, the cluster of the metropolis has about 60 000 workers, of which 43 000 are in the manufacturing sector, and generates an annual turnover of over 15 billion.

If it is still difficult to speculate on the impact of the current crisis on the industry, it remains that the supply chain is currently affected, said the director of the group of studies in business management in aeronautics at UQAM, Mehran Ebrahimi. “To think that we will be able to cross the pandemic without too many problems would be equivalent, in my opinion, to believe in father Christmas. “

According to Mr. Ebrahimi, he will have to wait to see what will be the extent of the measures, government subsidies, if any, granted to sectors such as aerospace, before being able to draw up a balance sheet. He added that the wage subsidy emergency in Ottawa, even if it is appropriate in the circumstances, just a little blur in the portrait, since it makes it possible for many companies to retain workers, which could change when the scope of the program be reduced, or when it will end.

“I would like to have a crystal ball, replied Mr. Brassard, when asked to say what was expected by the industry in quebec. If companies are entered into this crisis with a precarious financial situation, it will take a lot of creativity to get by. “

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