Aéro Montréal reiterates the importance of F-35 acquisition
Jan. 14, 2011, Montreal - As part of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Montréal, during which he will meet with several aerospace companies, Aéro Montréal reiterates the importance of the F-35 program for Québec's aerospace cluster and supports the acquisition of this 5th generation of Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets by the federal government.
This unprecedented program – based on a partnership among nine nations, of which Canada has been a member since 1997 – will generate significant economic benefits and create wealth for Canada and Québec.
"The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is a key program in which our industry is heavily involved," says Gilles Labbé, Chairman of Aéro Montréal and President and CEO of Héroux-Devtek. "The JSF program opens unprecedented opportunities for Canadian companies. We will be able to secure a place among first and second tier suppliers in the global supply chain, generating benefits and jobs for the next 30 years."
"Québec has a substantial and world-class industrial capacity and is the main centre for Canada's aerospace industry," explains Suzanne M. Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal. "Québec companies are well equipped to compete for lucrative contracts and want the chance to do so. The window of opportunity is open and we must position ourselves to become part of this supply chain starting now."
Currently, over 85 Canadian companies have recognized prospects under the JSF program, and 60 of these companies have already signed contracts. These figures should increase between now and the start of full JSF production in 2015. Opportunities should benefit small, medium and large companies across Canada and Québec.
"Canadian government investments and the F-35 program are a critical lever for the economic development of Québec's aerospace industry," adds Serge Brasset, member of the board of Aéro Montréal, Director General of Collège Édouard-Montpetit and Director of the École nationale d'aérotechnique. "The increased business activity generated by this historic supply contract will not only give our aerospace graduates better access to the labour market, but also allow our industry to benefit from an even more qualified workforce."
However, to maximize the benefits of this decision for the industry, we need a stable environment. That's why Aéro Montréal supports the federal government's decision to proceed with the purchase of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. By working together, we can protect and create thousands of high-quality and well paid jobs that will be available for future generations.
Québec's aerospace industry at a glance
Recognized for its highly skilled and innovative labour force, Québec's aerospace sector today employs 40 000 people and generates revenues of $12.4 billion, or around 60 per cent of the Canadian total. With 98% of Québec's aerospace activity concentrated in Greater Montréal, the region is one of the world's leading aerospace centres, along with Seattle and Toulouse.
Québec's aerospace industry benefits from the presence of global leaders. These include four major prime contractors and some 15 equipment manufacturers and MROs supported by a network of more than 200 specialized companies. Moreover, Québec is home to Canada's largest aerospace centres of excellence and most prestigious technical institutes, schools, colleges and universities. Thanks to this exceptional innovation capacity, our industrial sector is recognized around the world as a true model of excellence.