Bombardier is selling its Downsview aircraft assembly operation outside Toronto where it assembles its Q400 turboprop airliners and Global 5000 business jets.

The $635 million sale to Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board will net the Montreal-based manufacturer more than $550 million, helping the company in its ongoing cost-cutting and debt-reduction efforts.

Bombardier will continue to operate at the 370-acre facility for at least three years. It also has two one-year options.

The company announced it will lease 38 acres from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to establish a business-jet assembly and completion center at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Bombardier uses about 10% of its Downsview property and has $9 billion in debt, largely from development costs for the C Series jetliner and Global 7000 business jet.

The sale and lease “will allow us to monetize an underutilized asset, further streamline and optimize our business aircraft operations, and will support further economic development and job growth in Greater Toronto,” Bombardier President and CEO Alain Bellemare said recently, adding that the Q400 is not going away. “This is a product line we will keep pushing,” he told analysts, suggesting the company’s status as producer of commercial aircraft is safe for the foreseeable future.

Both the Q400 and CRJ backlogs are hovering around 50 aircraft. The company delivered 31 business jets in the first quarter of 2018, up from 29 a year ago. Revenue totaled $1.1 billion, compared to $1.0 billion a year ago, with profits up 20%, Bombardier said. Stronger order activity in the final weeks of 2017 carried into the first quarter and drove up the order backlog to $14.3 billion, compared to $14.2 billion a year ago.

In the meantime, the business jet market is showing signs of improvement, with used inventory at its lowest level in more than a decade, an increase in residual values and improved market sentiment, Bellemare said.

The market has improved across all segments, especially in the midsize and large jet segments, he noted.

The company said certification of the Global 7000 is progressing well and first deliveries are expected later this year. Bombardier plans to ramp up deliveries to about 20 in 2019 with full production achieved in 2020 or 2021.

In addition, Bellemare said the company will continue its Learjet business regarding it as “an aftermarket revenue-generating asset.” He said Bombardier had lowered Learjet production in Wichita to “protect the value of the franchise during a softer market condition.” However, he added,  “We are selling the Lears right now, and actually the team is doing a great job.”

Bombardier delivered three Learjet 75s during the first quarter of 2018, down from five a year ago. In 2017, it delivered 14 Learjets, down from 24 in 2016.

The company is monitoring the health of the Learjet market to see where it will go, Bellemare said. But as Bombardier increases focus on its aftermarket business, Learjet’s installed base of more than 2,500 aircraft is a “good base to work from,” he said.

The company has kept Learjet production going, Bellemare added. “We’ll see where it goes, but right now we like it and we’ll keep selling it.”