From its first helicopter manufacturing facility in 1984 to the production of the A220 Family single-aisle aircraft today, Airbus has significantly increased its presence in Canada.
With locations in multiple Canadian cities, Airbus has robust industrial activity in the country, covering the commercial aircraft, rotorcraft, defence and space sectors.
Our Canadian Story
We have a long history in Canada, spanning over 35 years. From Nova Scotia to British Columbia, Canada is our home. This is our Canadian story.
The Canadian aerospace industry maintained its #1 R&D ranking among all Canadian manufacturing industries in 2020*, and Airbus is a positive factor for the Canadian economy: employing more than 4,000 persons; creating approximately 23,000 indirectly-sustained jobs in aerospace; working with more than 700 suppliers in nine provinces; and sourcing close to $2 billion CAD from Canadian companies.
Airbus’ long-standing relationship with Canada was strengthened in 2018 with the creation of the partnership that saw the marketing, manufacturing, and support of the A220 Family transferred to Airbus’ stewardship as these new-generation 100-150-seat aircraft were brought into the Airbus line-up. The A220 programme is under the ownership of the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership – now held 75% by Airbus and 25% by the Government of Québec.
The A220 Family activities are based in Mirabel, Quebec, near Montreal, where the operations include programme management, engineering, customer support & services, as well as the programme’s main final assembly line (a second assembly line serving U.S. operators is in Mobile, Alabama, on the same site as the A320 final assembly line, which also serves the U.S. market). In 2022, the Mirabel A220 site was expanded with the addition of a 125,000 ft2 or 38 100 m2 sub-assembly area, known as a pre-final assembly line (pre-FAL).
*Source AIAC https://aiac.ca/industry-statistics/
The 100-130-seat A220-100 aircraft and larger 130-160-seat A220-300 version complement the existing Airbus commercial aircraft portfolio.
A220 Family jetliners destined for worldwide customers are produced at the final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, near Montreal, where programme management, engineering, customer support and other services are also located. A220s for U.S.-based operators are manufactured at the new Mobile, Alabama, final assembly line in the United States, which was inaugurated in May 2020.
The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market, bringing together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation GTF™ engines. The A220 brings customers a 50% reduced noise footprint and up to 25% lower fuel burn per seat and CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft, as well as around 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards.
With more than 220 A220s delivered to 16 airlines operating on four continents, the A220 is the optimal aircraft for regional as well as long-distance routes. To date, more than 70 million passengers have enjoyed the A220. The fleet is currently flying on over 800 routes and 325 destinations worldwide. The current A220 order book currently stands at more than 770 firm orders - confirming its breakthrough in the small single-aisle market.
Airbus jetliners have long been a popular choice of Canadian airlines: Air Canada operates a fleet that includes widebody A330-300s, along with the single-aisle A321-200, A320-200, and A319-100, as well as the A220.
Air Transat’s widebody fleet comprises A310-300, A330-200, and A330-300 aircraft, along with single-aisle A321ceo and A321neo jetliners.
There are about 160 commercial aircraft in Canadian fleets.
Airbus helicopters are present in Canada’s utility and para-public markets, with operators including the Ontario Provincial Police – which flies H135s.
Headquartered in Fort Erie, Ontario, with a team of around 250 employees, Airbus Helicopters Canada also has sales support in Montreal, Quebec and a 24/7 customer service network in place coast to coast, supporting more than 220 operators flying 770-plus aircraft. The company markets and manufactures rotorcraft, and provides services that include Supplemental Type Certificate and options development, repair and overhaul, flight testing and training solutions.
The Fort Erie facility is a center of excellence for composite manufacturing and is the sole source supplier of 8 different Airbus helicopter types flying all over the world, thanks to the expertise of its team and its competitiveness. It also performs dynamic component repair for the light helicopter product range worldwide.
World’s no. 1 helicopter manufacturer, Airbus is the preferred choice of helicopter operators across North America, with a commanding 62 percent market share in 2021.
Airbus is the leading manufacturer of helicopters used throughout Canada in roles such as law enforcement, EMS, oil and gas, utility, transport: tour, corporate, and private business aviation. In Canada, Airbus helicopters are dominant in the utility and para-public markets. Operators include the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with its fleet comprised of single H120, H125, and twin-engine H145 helicopters; the Ontario Provincial Police, utilizing twin-engine H135s to support law enforcement operations across Canada’s most populous province; and STARS providing air rescue services in western Canada.
Civilian operators include Niagara Helicopters, with a fleet of single-engine H130s for sightseeing aerial tours, including charters above Niagara Falls.
To date, Airbus Helicopters Canada has recorded close to 200,000 flight hours and shipped worldwide more than 20,000 spare parts.
In 2016, Airbus was awarded a contract to deliver 16 C295 search and rescue aircraft to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Canada is home to many aerospace companies employing nearly 200,000 skilled professionals. The Canadian aerospace industry contributed over $24 billion to Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021, and over 90% of aerospace manufacturing revenues were export-orientated.*
With its Defence & Space 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 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, through its U.K. subsidiary, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited – the world's leading small satellite company – it provided the agile bus platform used by the Canadian Department of National Defence’s highly successful Sapphire satellite. Airbus has 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.
- 24 active ongoing aerospace research projects with Canadian experts*
- 5 key systems provided to 5 satellites and various mission definition studies completed for Canadian customers
Airbus has 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.
Other Airbus Companies in Canada
AirPro SAR Services is a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and PAL Aerospace, fully dedicated to the successful operation of Canada’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) programme. A Canadian company, AirPro provides day to-day management of all ISS subcontractors through service level agreements for the provision of engineering, logistics, maintenance, training, IT systems, infrastructure and materiel support throughout the product life cycle.
The cumulative experience and capabilities of AirPro provide a unique combination that will contribute to the successful fulfillment of its mandate – a No-fail delivery of in-service support activities for Canada’s FWSAR programme.
Airbus’ Flight Operations Services subsidiary
NAVBLUE is an Airbus Services company wholly owned by Airbus, dedicated to Flight Operations & Air Traffic Management solutions. It provides products and services in support of both civil and military operations, on the ground and onboard any aircraft. NAVBLUE works with main airlines in Canada and even supports Government agencies like the Government of Quebec.
Working in close cooperation with Airbus’ central Flight Operations, NAVBLUE offers expertise in a range of areas including digital cockpit operations, Operations Control Centre (OCC) systems, Flight Ops Engineering, Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and Air Traffic Management (ATM).
The Airbus subsidiary employs 460 employees around the world, with offices in Canada, France, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and the US, and representatives in several other countries across the globe.
Previously known as Navtech, it was acquired by Airbus in 2016, and was merged with Airbus LUCEM and Airbus ProSky to form NAVBLUE. To expand its expertise, NAVBLUE recently acquired (February 2020) AVIOLINX , an innovative Crew and Operations software company based out of Sweden.
In Canada, the Software Factory is mainly based in Waterloo. Other functions include aeronautical raw data processing, Aircraft Performance System (APS) production, deployment, customer experience, quality, legal, finance, IT, sales and HR. The Waterloo office primarily supports OCC products.
STELIA Aéronautique Canada (aerostructures assembly & systems integration):
Located in Mirabel, Laurentides (Quebec), 45 minutes from Montréal, STELIA Aéronautique Canada covers 73,000 sq. feet and employs around 250 people.
The plant was inaugurated in 2014 and is a wholly-owned Airbus Atlantic subsidiary, specializing in aerostructure assembly and systems integration.
Close to 370 highly skilled STELIA employees are behind the A220 Design & Engineering, Production of Front and Aft fuselage of the A220 aircraft, as well as certain components of the A330 aircraft
Working with more than 700 Canadian suppliers across nine provinces in the country, Airbus sources close to $ 2 billion (Canadian dollars) annually from Canadian companies as of mid-2020 – spending that supports approximately 23,000 skilled jobs.
Airbus is a frontrunner for innovation and skills in Canada with 24 active ongoing projects with Canadian expertise clusters related to artificial intelligence, autonomous flight, materials, electrification and pluri-disciplinary research projects with NRC (Canada’s National Research Council), with applications to aerospace.
Launch of the second edition of the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge in Mirabel, QC (2020).
One of the ways in which Airbus gives back to the community is by inspiring and encouraging youth development through contact with the aerospace industry.
The Flying Challenge is an Airbus Foundation’s mentoring program that aims at interesting local youth in the aeronautical fields through STEM activities (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics). More widely, the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge encourages staying in school by focusing on self-confidence and self-awareness.
The Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge is now implanted in 10 countries and 25 Airbus sites throughout the world. It involves 600 of our colleagues internationally and touches more than 1300 young people around the globe.
Since 2020, the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge has activities in Mirabel through two new local partners Grands Frères Grandes Soeurs de la Porte du Nord and Aviation Connection.
In 2020, 30 youths from five different schools were taking part in the program, and have the opportunity to meet our colleagues who became their mentors and to bond with them through STEM workshops and mentoring sessions. The activities are back in 2022.
Airbus Canada commits to contributing to the education and training of aerospace students in Canada with two new partnerships in place since 2021, one with Polytechnique Montréal and another with McGill University, to offer ten scholarships, five at each institution, for the next four years.
Committed to support local communities in Quebec, Airbus Canada has been sponsoring many local organizations to help them address the challenges of our society: Canadian Red Cross, Centraide Laurentides, Jeunesse J’écoute, and Fondation de l’hôpital de Saint-Jérôme.
This support allows these organizations to provide vulnerable and isolated persons with basic needs and make sure everyone can enjoy equal rights and opportunities in their life.
Airbus has also supported numerous efforts to improve the lives of Canadians, such as participating in the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Big Bike charity event in Fort Erie, Ontario, to raise funding for critical research to help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.
Airbus is proud to be a leading member of Canada’s aerospace sector with a proven track record of delivering economic benefits from coast to coast. Canada is a strategic country for Airbus, and with more than 35 years in the country, over 4,000 employees and the A220 Family partnership Airbus’ presence in Canada will continue to grow.