20-May-2016 Source: HeliHub.com
Bell has announced that the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X final assembly will relocate from Louisiana to the company’s Mirabel Assembly and Delivery Center in Canada.
No clues were given as to why this move was made, but as recently as four weeks ago, the Montreal Gazette recorded the latest reduction of 60 employees at the plant along with the comment “When dismissals have been completed, approximately 940 people will be working at the plant, compared with nearly 2,000 employees there five years ago.”
So what’s changed? The move of a production line to Mirabel with hundreds of Letters of Intent from potential purchasers around the world will see the need for more jobs, not less – and indeed the same newspaper recorded a planned increase of 100 yesterday, a fact not covered in the Bell press release.
Given the continual headcount reduction in recent years, the statement yesterday from Bell President and CEO Mitch Snyder sounds counter-intuitive – “The relocation will enable the company to optimize its manufacturing footprint across multiple sites, while maximizing the core capabilities of each facility. Mirabel is a vital part of Bell Helicopter’s long term growth strategy and this move confirms our commitment to our Mirabel workforce and infrastructure.”
Bell has built the first three Bell 505 prototypes at Mirabel and is working with Transport Canada to achieve type certification and production certification this year.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com