Québec’s aerospace cluster hosts Minister for Finance
April 15, 2011, Montreal - Aéro Montréal, Québec's aerospace cluster, today held its annual meeting at HEC Montreal's IBM amphitheatre in the presence of Alain Paquet, Minister for Finance, and top executives of Québec's aerospace sector.
Gilles Labbé, Chairman of Aéro Montréal and President and CEO of Héroux-Devtek Inc., as well as Suzanne M. Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal, summarized the cluster's many achievements in 2010.
"Members of Québec's aerospace cluster continued to invest in research and development (R&D) during the past year to ensure their global competitiveness over the long term," said Mr. Labbé. "According to the Conference Board of Canada, the industry's production rate is expected to accelerate significantly starting in 2011 and to surpass its pre-recession highs by 2014."
Working with its partners, Aéro Montréal implemented structuring initiatives to respond to various issues related to the aerospace supply chain, innovation and the development of young talent. Mr. Labbé continued: "The supply chain is globalizing at a rapid pace. Starting now, aerospace companies must position themselves in the global supply chain platforms of the future, move towards more competitive models and stay abreast of new needs and requirements of large global prime contractors."
Ms. Benoît noted that collaboration is the key to success for Québec's aerospace industry. Moreover, the cluster's Human Resources working group last fall launched "The sky is the limit" project as part of the industry's commitment to encouraging students to stay in school and spur their interest in pursuing careers in aerospace. "Given the demographic challenges faced by the industry, we have taken the initiative to heighten young people's interest in science careers," she explained. The series of science presentations reached more than 750 Grades 5 and 6 students in Greater Longueuil. The success of this pilot project was so overwhelming that the cluster is planning to deploy the program in 2011 in the Mirabel area, on the Island of Montreal and in Montérégie-Est.
Mr. Paquet took advantage of the cluster's annual meeting to talk about the role aerospace plays in Québec's economic development. "Following industry requests submitted by Aéro Montréal, the 2010 budget of my colleague Raymond Bachand budgeted $70 million over four years to support demonstration projects leading to the development of greener aircraft," he said. "This initiative, with a total budget of $150 million including company contributions, consists of projects led by major industry players: Bombardier Aerospace, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Héroux-Devtek, Esterline CMC Electronics and Thales Canada, which will be joined by SMEs."
"Our development strategy for Québec's aerospace industry continues to shape the role that government is playing in the growth of this industry," Mr. Paquet added. "This strategy is based on mobilizing the aerospace cluster and leveraging Québec's many competitive advantages in aerospace, including a skilled workforce, research and development, the expertise of major contractors, equipment manufacturers and a network of some 210 SMEs, as well as quality educational institutions."
Aéro Montréal took advantage of the annual meeting to celebrate its 5th anniversary. The organization was established in 2006 to mobilize all stakeholders in the aviation and aerospace sectors and to coordinate the development, implementation and follow-up of the cluster's strategic plan. Over the years, the strategic action plan has led to the launch of several working groups, including supply chain development, human resources, innovation, branding and promotion, and national security and defence.