As Bombardier pushes for a federal bailout, a new hope has emerged in the form of Iranian cash, newly freed from international economic sanctions.
Iranian media reported over the weekend that the Quebec-based civil transport company had signed a memorandum of understanding to be part of a new startup airline in Iran's Qeshm Free Trade Zone. Bloomberg News reported the airline is only in talks about joining Iranian and Chinese investors in a startup airline called Fly Qeshm.
Bombardier poured cold water on the reports Monday, saying they are inaccurate. But the company confirmed it is in talks to sell aircraft in Iran.
"We build, market and sell aircraft and trains," Marianella de la Barrera told Reuters.
She said Bombardier was “advancing in discussions” with Iranian officials, and that Bombardier execs are “visiting more often,” but didn’t give specifics about the orders the company is eyeing.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard shakes hands with Alain Bellemare, president and CEO of Bombardier Inc., at the opening of an aerospace conference, Monday, April 25, 2016 in Montreal. Quebec has signed on to a $1-billion bailout of Bombardier, and is pushing the federal government to develop its own bailout package. (Canadian Press photo)
Bombardier estimates the country will need some 300 new planes over the next decade, as it upgrades its fleets following years of international sanctions, Bloomberg reported.
Bombardier’s signature CSeries jet has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and problematic test flights. The airline has failed to win over many new buyers as it faces stiff competition from Boeing and Airbus, the world’s two largest civilian aircraft makers. The company announced 1,000 layoffs earlier this year.
The Quebec government set up a $1-billion bailout program for Bombardier last year. Politicians in the province are pushing the federal government to pony up another $1 billion, though no final decision has been announced.
Canada dropped economic sanctions against Iran earlier this year, as part of an agreement meant to keep the country from acquiring nuclear weapons.
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