Montréal takes home first prize for its foreign direct investment attraction strategy in the aerospace industry

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The aerospace industry is undoubtedly one of the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, not only nationally, but worldwide. Montréal has not escaped this reality. In order to bounce back, the city will have to rely in particular on the contribution of foreign companies, many of which are already investing in this sector. In fact, the fDi Magazine (Financial Times) has just awarded Montréal the prize for best foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction strategy in the Aerospace Cities of the Future 2020-2021 ranking.

The Mayor of Montréal and President of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Valérie Plante, asserts that it comes as no surprise if Montréal is now considered one of the best cities in the world to locate an aerospace company. “The metropolis has a 360-degree ecosystem, drawing on a whole chain of manufacturers and original equipment suppliers, underpinned by higher education institutions and research centres to build bridges with industry.”

For Montréal International, this news comes at just the right time to mobilize and invite all aerospace industry players, including institutional and government representatives, to redouble their efforts in order to restart the sector’s activities. “This distinction not only reflects worldwide recognition of our work in attracting investment, it also confirms the extent to which we have a high value-added industry for the entire Québec economy,” stated Stéphane Paquet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Montréal International.

Aerospace, a key sector for the Québec economy

With more than 43,000 highly skilled jobs, equivalent to one worker in fifty in the region, the sector can count on the critical presence of five prime contractors, some fifteen first-tier partners, equipment manufacturers and heavy maintenance and overhaul companies, as well as 219 suppliers. All the global heavyweights, including Airbus, Bell Flight Textron Canada, Pratt & Whitney, Thales and CAE have, by turns, invested significantly in the region, driving remarkable growth in recent years.

According to a recent study by the Institut du Québec[i], the aerospace industry is considered strategic for Québec’s economy and, accordingly, deserves to be encouraged and supported by government policies, particularly considering its major investments in R&D, its advanced innovation and its significant contribution to foreign trade. In this regard, a number of the industry’s stakeholders are calling for a Canadian aerospace policy.

Montréal also stands out as the country’s largest aerospace hub, accounting for almost 49% of the workforce, 57% of sales and 70% of R&D in Canada.