PARIS - Quebec's economy minister says the government is ready to buy shares in Bombardier if the airplane manufacturer asks for financial aid to support the CSeries commercial jet program.
Jacques Daoust told reporters on Sunday that Bombardier was looking for financing and that "conversations" had been held. He said the company did not make a formal request for aid, but Daoust made it clear Bombardier would have no trouble receiving help if it made a request.
"I'm ready to help Bombardier because I still have confidence in Bombardier," said Daoust. "It's an economic locomotive for us."
Daoust was in France for the Paris Air show, where the CSeries commercial jets made their public debut.
For the first time, visitors and potential buyers were able to see the CS100 and CS300 up close and in the sky.
Bombardier said the plane performed even better than expected during flying tests in areas such as distance covered in flight, fuel economy and performance on takeoff.
Six years after the launch of the program, Bombardier has just 243 firm orders for the CSeries, below its goal of 300 and well below the numbers registered by aircraft built by rivals Boeing and Airbus, according to media reports.
Doaoust acknowledged the aerospace manufacturer was at a low point, but said he was convinced Bombardier would succeed in taking on Boeing and Airbus.
"We can question the CSeries, but at the point we're at, we won't abandon it," he said.
Daoust said he would opt for purchasing shares because it would be profitable for Quebecers in the long run.
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