In further moves to bolster its financial position and focus, Bombardier surprised many last month when it announced it was shedding the Q400 regional turboprop program, the last of its de Havilland products, selling its pilot training operation to CAE and cutting an additional 5,000 jobs in the next 12-18 months. Earlier, it had sold its Downsview Airport facility near Toronto, and handed its C Series jetliner program to Airbus. News of the job cuts came as a “shock” to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which represents 20,000 Bombardier workers in Quebec. Some 2,500 union employees in Canada are expected to be impacted, the union said. Details so far are few. Of the surprise announcement, DeLane Adams, communications representative with the IAM, said, “This is definitely a blow to the gut.”

Contract negotiations between the union and Bombardier are scheduled to begin in a few weeks. The job reductions are in addition to those affected by the sale of the Q400 program to Longview Aviation Capital, owner of Viking Air, which owns the rights to all other legacy de Havilland aircraft along with the CL-415 water bomber, or the sale of Bombardier’s business aviation training activities, Bombardier said. Employees will have opportunities to transfer with the work to the new companies, a company spokesman said. The company said about 1,000 Bombardier employees work on Q400 production and support and another 250 employees work in Bombardier training programs. Of the 5,000 job cuts, a Bombardier spokesperson said about 3,000 will occur in Canada, with 75% involving the company’s aerospace division and 25% from transportation. Job reductions will take place in the U.S., including in Wichita, Europe and other parts of the world, he said. The company employs 70,000 people worldwide.

Sales within the Q400 program, whose operations will continue at the Downsview factory until at least 2021, along with the training activities, are expected to close by the second half of 2019 and net about $900 million, Bombardier said. The restructuring is expected to save the company $250 million a year by 2021. The Downsview sale fetched $600 million. It said the actions will position Bombardier for the final, deleveraging phase of a five-year turnaround plan.