HISTORY OF BOMBARDIER, INC. AND BOMBARDIER AVIATION EST. 1989
Bombardier Aviation is a subsidiary of Bombardier Inc. headquartered in Quebec that emerged from the imaginative and enterprising spirit of a young mechanic to become a world-class business jet manufacturer and service provider.Bombardier was founded on the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of a teenage mechanic. Joseph-Armand Bombardier was born in 1907. Young Joseph Bombardier’s mechanical interest leads him to disassemble and reassemble various machines. At just 13 years old, he creates his first mechanical toy, a tiny locomotive powered by a clock mechanism, and meticulously paints it. To the delight of his siblings and friends, Joseph-Armand’s active imagination rapidly produces tractors and boats.
JOSEPH’S HOMEMADE MINI-CANNON
Joseph-Armand’s imagination is limitless even taking an old sewing machine parts and assembled a steam engine! With his Aunt Marie’s consent, he places the engine on her spinning wheel, and the experiment works: the wheel spins faster and faster! But it doesn’t stop there. He persuades the local veterinarian, Mr. Archambault, his friend Paul’s father, to give him a broken 12-caliber rifle. Joseph enthusiastically gets to work reducing the barrel, adjusting the breech, and modifying the firing system. Then he places the new mini-canon of sorts on metal wheels and shows it to Paul at his house a week later. The rifle is loaded with black powder and set off in front of the dumbfounded veterinarian. To keep Joseph-Armand away from taking apart his father, Alfred’s, vehicle motor, Alfred offers him a “irreparable” Model T Ford motor. The teenager repairs it with his brother Léopold and eventually incorporates it into his own design.
SNOW MACHINE LAUNCH
Alfred sends away Joseph at the age of 14 to study priesthood in hopes that he will become a Priest. While Joseph is a way from his workshop, the youngster continues to refine his latest creation. When he returns home for Christmas, he hides out in his father’s workshop with his brother Léopold and a few cousins. On New Year’s Eve day, Alfred Bombardier is amazed to see a weird sled powered by an old Ford motor emerge from his workshop. Léopold directs the vehicle using cotton rope reins, while Joseph-Armand handles the engine, which powers a propeller made by the young inventor.At 15, he developed his first snow vehicle. Its launch astounds everyone, but Alfred Bombardier swiftly dismantles it due to the danger of the open propeller at the rear. Joseph-Armand obeys, but inwardly feels proud of himself for driving on snow.This evenings events sent young Mr. Bombardier down a path where he not only created one of Canada’s most popular winter sports but go on to become one of the most innovative, imaginative, and profound businessmen that would connect the world in an entirely new and efficient way.
COLLEGE < GARAGES
He gained expertise by reading, repairing, and analyzing what he acquired until he launched his own garage at the age of 19, where he serviced automobiles and offered fuel for sale in the summer. During the winter, he focused on creating and manufacturing a machine that could “fly on the snow” as Joseph put it. At the time, the Quebec government did not clear snow off minor roads, forcing citizens to put their vehicles away for the winter season.
JOSEPH BOMBARDIERS ORIGIN STORY
In January of 1934, there was a terrible blizzard in Valcourt, Quebec that was not letting up anytime soon. Joseph’s adorable two year old son, Yvon, fell extremely ill. Joseph made the decision he needed to get Yvon to the hospital. Unfortunately, due to the severity of the blizzard, Joseph was unable to make it to the hospital in time and his son passed due to complications from peritonitis. From this day forward, Joseph set out on a mission to finally finish his long dreamed of snow machine. Joseph continue to design, redesign, test, and test again to get his invention just right. In 1937 Bombardier introduced the seven-passenger B7 snowmobile and Joseph-Armand Bombardier earned his first significant commercial success. L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée was created five years later to manufacture the 12-passenger B12 snowmobile. Following that, a number of further snow-capable vehicles were added to provide ambulance, freight transport, mail delivery, and school transportation services.
Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s aim of producing the ideal personal snowmobile was never abandoned. His relentless testing finally resulted in the birth of a whole new industry: snowmobiling. The vehicle was dubbed the “Ski-Dog” because it was designed to take the place of hunters and trappers’ dog sleds. However, in 1958, the name “Ski-Doo” was inadvertently put on the first prototype and quickly rose to fame. In 1959, he introduced the world’s first Ski-Doo.
BOMBARDIERS INTRODUCTION INTO RAILWAY AND TRANSIT
Bombardier joined the railway sector in 1970 with its first acquisition outside of Canada: Lohnerwerke, a producer of motor scooters and trams based in Vienna, Austria, and its affiliate, the engine manufacturer ROTAX.However, it was not until 1973, when the oil crisis caused Bombardier to decrease its snowmobile output, that the company began to take the railway industry seriously. Bombardier received its first mass transit contract in 1974, when it was awarded the contract to produce 423 cars for the city of Montréal’s subway system. Later same year, in 1982, Bombardier was awarded a $1 billion US contract to deliver 825 subway cars to the New York City Transit Authority, establishing Bombardier as a North American rail transit leader.
TOTAL AVIATION DOMINATION BEGINS
Sixteen years after expanding into rail transportation, Bombardier entered the aerospace sector in 1986 with the acquisition of Canadair, Canada’s leading maker of Challenger widebody business jets and the CL-215 amphibious firefighting aircraft. Keep in mind, this is after the Canadian Government recorded the largest corporate loss in Canadian history!Following in the footsteps of the CL-215, the Bombardier 415 amphibian, debuted in 1994, remains the sole aircraft developed expressly for aerial firefighting and is also capable of performing other utility missions such as marine search and rescue, surveillance, and personnel transport.The famous Challenger business jet platform from Bombardier has never failed to impress and set new industry standards. The Challenger 350 and the Challenger 650 business jet’s are Bombardier’s most successful sellers due to their class leading cabin size, luxurious interiors with opulent fittings, global reach, and low operating expenses. The Challenger 3500 aircraft, scheduled to enter service in 2021, is the newest member of the Challenger business jet family, elevating the passenger experience in the super mid-size sector. It establishes new benchmarks for cabin comfort and features never seen on a business aircraft before, all while being the most sustainably designed business jet in its class.Following its 1986 acquisition of Canadair and successful turnaround, Bombardier began purchasing struggling aviation businesses starting with the purchase of the near-bankrupt Short Brothers aircraft manufacturing firm in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1989. This was followed in 1990 with the acquisition of Learjet, a producer of business jets based in Wichita, Kansas; and lastly, in 1992, the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, a money-losing Boeing subsidiary situated in Toronto, Ontario.
REVOLUTION OF REGIONAL TRAVEL
Bombardier commenced the 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) program in 1989, now backed by a world-class team of aerospace engineers. The CRJ was certified in 1992. By linking smaller cities to big hubs, the CRJ transformed regional travel, making air travel accessible to the majority of people. Later in 1997, the 70-seat CRJ700 was introduced, followed by the 86-seat CRJ900 in 2000 and the 100-seat CRJ1000 in 2007. Today, the CRJ Series aircraft family is the most successful regional aircraft program in the world.
THE ROCKET BLASTS OFF TO BEST-SELLING IN CLASS
Bombardier acquired Learjet Corporation in 1990 and shortly after that they would launch the all new midsize business jet, the Learjet 60, which quickly became the best-selling aircraft in the Midsize jet class. Bombardier engineers have subsequently recreated and refined this classic private jet. The current iteration, the Learjet 75, builds on the iconic Learjet’s characteristics and triumphs while incorporating technology from the Learjet 85. The planes have a new contemporary interior design, a next-generation cabin management system, enhanced aircraft performance, and reduced operating costs.
ENGINEERING MARVEL: MAKING LOUD THINGS QUIET
With the 1992 acquisition of Boeing’s de Havilland business and the introduction of the world-famous Dash 8, Bombardier established itself as the market leader in the burgeoning market segment of regional airliners, the only manufacturer to provide both jet and turboprop aircraft in the 50-seat category. Later on, Bombardier installed an amazing noise-canceling mechanism that made the aircraft almost as quiet as a jet. Indeed, the aircraft’s noise level was so low that it was nicknamed the Q Series.
BOMBARDIERS CROWN JEWEL: GLOBAL SERIES
In 1993, Bombardier announced its intention to construct the world’s first Ultra Long Range business jet, the Global Express, which would offer unmatched comfort and the ability to fly nonstop between Montréal and Tokyo. The first flight occurred in 1996, and the aircraft entered service in 1999.Global Express XRS (6000), Global 5000, Global 7500, Global 5500, and Global 6500 were all introduced in the following years. The Global aircraft family sets new standards for cabin comfort and technology while linking more locations than any other business jet. It is the product of our unwavering dedication to innovation, quality, and, most importantly, our ambition to provide unparalleled capabilities to our clients.
BOMBARDIER IS #1 IN ANOTHER INDUSTRY
While Bombardier expanded into the aviation and rail transportation sectors, the company’s recreational segment achieved unprecedented heights. By 1995, Bombardier had captured more than half of the personal watercraft industry with its Sea-Doo and Speedster boats and developed a snowmobile engine that reduced hydrocarbon emissions by 50% while it also improved fuel efficiency by up to 25%! Furthermore, as a newcomer to the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) sector, Bombardier garnered industry acclaim within a year, winning the ATV Magazine’s 1999 best ATV award. In 2003, the leisure products business was sold as the corporation refocused on rail transportation and aerospace manufacturing.
WAIT… THAT AIRBUS WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED BY WHO?
The C Series five-abreast commercial aircraft family was announced in 2008 to meet airline customers’ demands for the next quarter-century in terms of economies, performance, environmental stewardship, and passenger comfort. A tiny group of aerospace engineers and specialists spent years developing what would become the most sophisticated commercial aircraft on the market. In 2013, the maiden flight of a C Series aircraft occurred.Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, was the first to express interest, placing an order for up to 60 aircraft. Delta placed Bombardier’s largest C Series order in 2016; a definite order for 75 CS100 aircraft with an option for a further 50 CS100 aircraft.Bombardier announced a cooperation with Airbus on the C Series aircraft development in the fall of 2017. The partnership combined Airbus’ worldwide reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest, state-of-the-art jet aircraft family, enabling both partners to fully unleash the platform’s potential and generate considerable additional value for customers, suppliers, workers, and shareholders.
As Bombardiers aircraft business expanded, Bombardier Transportation acquired Adtranz in 2001, establishing the company as the world leader in rail equipment. Bombardier’s transportation headquarters were transferred from Montréal to Berlin in 2002. This expansion bolstered the company’s capacity to service Europe, the world’s largest rail market.For the next decade, railway technology saw numerous innovations, including the ZEFIRO (2005), Bombardier’s first ultra-high-speed train; the Autorail Grande Capacité (2007), the world’s first hybrid train with dual mode and dual voltage technology; the third generation of INNOVIA driverless systems (2010); and the innovative last mile diesel TRAXX AC locomotive (2011).Bombardier further cemented its position in rail transportation with significant orders from Germany, France, and South Africa for light rail vehicles, commuter trains, and intercity trains, respectively.
DIRE SITUATIONS CALL FOR DIRE MEASURES: BOMBARDIERS 5 YEAR PLAN (2015-2020)
In 2015, swift and immediate actions were required to protect Bombardier’s legacy and ensure its continued success moving forward. A five-year restructuring plan was devised in order to deleverage and enhance its balance sheet.
THE GREAT SELL-OFF
After establishing a partnership with the Government of Quebec and Airbus, Bombardier divested its investment in the C Series/A220 joint venture, bringing an end to the company’s commercial aircraft history. Bombardier will always be proud of the industry-defining influence it had on commercial aviation as a result of its employees’ innovation. Bombardier is equally pleased of the prudent manner in which it departed commercial aerospace, safeguarding employment and strengthening Quebec’s and Canada’s aerospace sector.Bombardier announced the sale of Bombardier Transportation to Alstom in February 2020, marking the conclusion of another significant chapter in the company’s history. This acquisition will enable the corporation to expeditiously repay its $9.3 billion debt.
BOMBARDIERS LEGACY PRESERVED AND WILL CONTINUE TO THRIVE
This audacious transition is now accomplished. Bombardier’s legacy continues on, and the firm is well positioned to continue its long history of invention and inventiveness.Bombardier is now prepared for the next chapter of its history. They will concentrate their efforts on the business aviation sector, where they will compete with the most adventurous and diverse product range in the industry.