The company’s ties to Canada were strengthened in October 2017 with an Airbus-Bombardier partnership that saw the marketing, manufacturing and support of A220 Family aircraft transferred to Airbus’ stewardship as Bombardier’s two C Series jetliners were brought into the Airbus line-up.
Other Airbus companies in Canada include NavBlue, based in Waterloo, Ontario and STELIA Aerospace Group, a multi-specialist aeronautics company with two subsidiaries in Canada. NavBlue is one of the world’s leading providers of navigation charts and data in the aviation market.
STELIA North America, based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Mirabel, Quebec, provides design services, assembly, systems integration, and manufacturing of complex composites and metallic structures, sub-assemblies and components.
A220 Family jetliners destined for Canadian and other worldwide customers outside of the U.S. are produced at the Mirabel final assembly line in Quebec. Those for U.S.-based operators are manufactured at the Mobile, Alabama final assembly line in the United States, which was inaugurated in August 2019.
Airbus jetliners have long been a popular choice of Canadian airlines: Air Canada, as of mid-2019, operates a fleet that includes wide-body A330-300s, along with the single-aisle A321-200, A320-200, and A319-100. Air Transat’s wide-body fleet comprises A310-300, A330-200, and A330-300 aircraft, along with single-aisle A321ceo and A321neo jetliners.
Headquartered in Fort Erie, Ontario, Airbus’ helicopter division has additional facilities in British Columbia and Quebec, supporting more than 200 operators flying 700-plus aircraft. The company markets and manufactures the rotorcraft, and provides services that include repair and overhaul, flight testing and training solutions. The Fort Erie facility is recognised as a centre of excellence for engineering and composite manufacturing and is the sole-source supplier of 50 various parts installed on Airbus helicopters flying all over the world.
The Canadian aerospace and defence industry is the fifth largest in the world, generating $27 billion (Canadian dollars) in revenue during 2016 due to a strong economic base, a highly-skilled workforce and significant research and development infrastructure.
With regional headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Airbus is an established supplier of military systems to the Canadian government. In December 2016, Airbus won a competitive bid to provide 16 C295 search and rescue aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), as well as related support systems, including a training centre, initial spare parts, tools, support, test equipment and five years of maintenance and support for the aircraft.
Airbus has teamed with PAL Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney Canada, CAE and L-3 WESCAM to provide fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft for Canada. Together with PAL Aerospace, Airbus established a joint venture called AirPro to provide in-service support throughout the life of the C295 transport fleet.
A long-time member of the RCAF aircraft fleet are CC-150 Polaris Multi Role Tanker Transports (a version of the A310 airliner), and the military service also utilises Airbus-built target drones.
Airbus is a successful provider of space technology and solutions to Canada’s government, military, commercial and civil space markets. Airbus’ commercial space credentials include providing advanced geostationary telecommunications satellites to Telesat, a leading satellite operator headquartered in Ottawa. The company’s military communications accomplishments include providing military satellite communication terminal equipment and secure communications services to the Canadian Armed Forces.
Airbus also delivers Earth-observation data and services to government, military and commercial users across Canada. The government of Canada has a National Master Standing Offer with Airbus that facilitates the purchase of its commercial satellite imagery products and data. Earth-observation data from Airbus is collected using a constellation of company-built state-of-the-art optical and radar satellites.
Many Canadian satellites incorporate equipment and systems delivered by Airbus and its subsidiary companies. For example, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited – the world's leading small satellite company – provided the agile bus platform used by the Canadian Department of National Defence’s highly successful Sapphire satellite. Airbus also provided equipment, such as the crypto module, GPS receiver, and star trackers, that are used by the Canadian Space Agency’s RCM radar satellites.
The Space Systems and Communications, Intelligence and Security divisions of Airbus have successfully addressed many Canadian space requirements in the past. Today, they are well positioned to participate in several significant Canadian space projects (planned as of mid-2018), including SAR Data Continuity, DESSP, ESCP-P, Surveillance of Space 2, and the Terrestrial Snow Mass Mission. Airbus is developing mission concepts and solutions for these and other Canadian space requirements.
The CP-140 Aurora long-range maritime patrol aircraft operated by the RCAF will receive equipment upgrades that include the addition of Airbus’ AirPatrol satellite communication terminals to provide high data-rate communications capability that will enhance their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission performance.
With more than 35 years in Canada and employees coast-to-coast; as well as with the A220 Family partnership, Airbus’ presence in Canada will continue to grow.
Canada will become one of five Airbus home countries in the world – eventually being on par with the U.K., France, Germany and Spain – meaning there is anticipated growth and opportunity in the aerospace industry for Canada.