(London) After a two-year eclipse, Quebec companies in the aeronautical sector are participating for the first time in a major event, the Farnborough International Air Show, where they will finally be able to reconnect with their customers and suppliers, and rebuild the essential interpersonal ties for good cohesion.
Posted yesterday at 6:30 am
“We are one business follow-up, we must see and talk face to face with our clients, learn about their projects, their needs, their expectations, and constantly re-evaluate our relationship based on the achievement of common goals”, CEOs and consultants of the Quebec aeronautics met Saturday night in London.
The latter participated in a reception organized by Aéro Montréal, the aeronautical industrial cluster, on the sidelines of the opening, this Monday morning, of the Farnborough Air Show, the first major international event of its kind since the 2019 Paris Air Show. .
If the contractual expectations are not disproportionate, the mere prospect of reconnecting with the multiple actors of the great globalized aeronautics chain inflated the enthusiasm of the participants, too happy to break the forced isolation of the last two years.
We come to meet with our clients to ensure that we are meeting their needs and, above all, to discuss their upcoming projects and properly align our efforts.
Patrick Champagne, Senior Advisor, CMC Electronics
Patrick Champagne was a long-time vice president of research and development for the former Marconi, specializing in electronics and avionics, which employs 700 specialists at its plant in Montreal’s Saint-Laurent district.
“Going to meet with the Malaysian defense chief to find out if our training systems are working well is complicated. At Farnborough, we are able to visit all of our clients to talk about a lot of things,” he notes.
At Héroux-Devtek, a designer and manufacturer of landing gear in Longueuil, we plan to hold around a hundred meetings with customers and suppliers from all over the world. Heads of sales, engineering and senior management will share these interpersonal exchanges.
“After three years, it feels good to meet our customers, especially those outside of North America. We can better assess our priorities in the short and medium term,” explains Martin Brassard, CEO of Héroux-Devtek.
A scalable delegation
Quebec’s aviation industry has been greatly affected by COVID-19 and the air transport crisis. Overall industry revenue, which was nearly $18 billion in 2019, fell to $15.2 billion in 2021. Jobs in the sector, from 43,400 three years ago, were just over 35,000 at the end of 2021. .
“The situation is changing rapidly. The recovery is strong and companies are looking to rehire, but the industry is now facing a shortage of workers. We still expect to end the year with an additional 3,000 to 4,000 workers. We plan to launch a big recruitment campaign in September,” says Suzanne Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal.
“We have a good delegation of 35 companies and 75 participants this year at the Farnborough Show. In addition to the usual participants, this year we welcome new players, especially in the aerospace and Opening high technology. »
New challenges also arise, such as urban mobility, the decarbonisation of air transport and the formation of new supply chains with the arrival of green hydrogen. Québec wants to position itself well in these emerging sectors.
Suzanne Benoît, CEO of Aero Montreal
The Quebec delegation is not limited to companies in the sector: the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, and the President of Investissement Quebec, Guy LeBlanc, are also present in London, as is the Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne.
The Farnborough International Airshow is also the first major commercial aviation event to take place without the presence of Bombardier, which remained an Airbus partner in 2019.
There is no need to hide it, for more than 20 years, Bombardier was the great umbrella under which the entire Quebec aeronautical sector was deployed internationally. It was the calling card that gave credibility to the entire Quebec industry.
“It is true that in terms of brandBombardier’s absence can be felt, but in terms of business, it has no impact on the companies that are present at the Farnborough Air Show”, observes Suzanne Benoît.
As the main prime contractor, will Airbus be able to become an industrial leader capable of galvanizing the entire Quebec aviation industry?
“I think we have become a strong Quebec company. We are the fourth player in the sector in Canada with our activities in the military and helicopter sectors. Our contribution to the industry is stronger than that of the A-220 alone, but in Quebec we reinvested and signaled that we were here for the long haul,” says Benoît Schultz, CEO of Airbus Canada.
“We have 2,500 employees in Mirabel, 3,000 if we count our workers in Stelia. Our nerve center will remain in Quebec. »
Over the next few days we will be able to assess the state of health of the global aerospace industry and of the Montreal region, long recognized as one of the main capitals of the sector, after Toulouse and Seattle.
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