The air taxi industry is a sector where Quebec can stand out at the Paris Air Show, which begins next Monday, believes the president and CEO of Montreal International, Stéphane Paquet.
“We realized that advanced air mobility is a promising element for the future, comments Mr. Paquet, in an interview. It is not tomorrow morning that you will take an air taxi from Montreal to Trois-Rivières. Research and development is happening now. You have to be present. »
The use of electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing could one day enable the movement of goods and passengers over short distances. Start-up companies are trying to develop this sector in the Montreal area, including Jaunt Air Mobility, Beta Technologies, Wisk Aero and Dufour Aerospace.
There are still opportunities to attract other foreign companies to this sector, Mr. Paquet believes. “There are a lot of players. The important thing is to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Not everyone is going to get to a prototype that will actually fly. We have a lot of meetings at Le Bourget on this this year. »
Still at the start-up stage, the advanced air mobility sector has been arousing enthusiasm from investors since 2020, when the sums spent crossed the threshold of one billion US dollars worldwide, according to publicly available data compiled by the firm McKinsey.
Investments peaked at US7 billion in 2021. Amid economic uncertainty and rising interest rates, however, this amount has fallen back to around US3 billion in 2022.
Montréal International will not only praise the city’s merits to foreign companies. For the first time, she will take advantage of Le Bourget to woo professionals in the field.
It supports 12 companies, including Bombardier, Airbus and Groupe Meloche, which will deploy recruitment efforts on site. Nearly 200 job offers are presented under this initiative. “Companies tell us there’s a need and we’re here to meet it,” said Mr. Paquet.
The resumption of air transport brings recruitment back to the top of business priorities, notes Mélanie Lussier, President and CEO of Aéro Montréal. “We are in full recovery: we are almost back to the pre-pandemic level in terms of jobs. »
Aéro Montréal estimates that there will be 38,000 positions to fill within 10 years, taking into account replacements and growth. ” It’s a lot ! »
At Bombardier, there are nearly 825 positions available in Montreal, confirms the business jet manufacturer, which also carries out charm operations on the school benches, in particular with scholarships and paid work-study programs work-study. “The succession in aeronautics is an issue on which we put a lot of effort. »
In February, Airbus Canada, which builds the A220 aircraft in Mirabel in the Laurentians, indicated that it wanted to hire 700 people in 2023 in Quebec. This figure includes 450 new positions.
This is the first meeting at Le Bourget in four years, which is held every two years in odd years. Last year, the Farnborough Air Show (even years) marked the return of high aviation masses since the pandemic.
Against the backdrop, industry players will come together amid supply chain disruptions. Logistical difficulties complicate the delivery of new aircraft at a time when the air traffic recovery remains resilient, despite economic uncertainty.
Decarbonizing the industry will remain a central theme at the show, Lussier believes. “I would tell you that the topic of the hour is really the transition of our products. The civil aviation industry has set itself the target of being carbon neutral by 2050. When I look at what people put forward, it is really the energy transition. »
Montreal can stand out in this regard, Mr. Paquet agrees. He gives the example of two projects recently supported by his organization “to have less polluting planes”, namely H55, which wants to set up a battery pack factory on the South Shore, or the consulting firm Ricardo, which will open a center in aerospace.
“There is not a project where this notion of carbon neutrality is not addressed, assures Mr. Paquet. This is true for air taxi, but it is also true for the sector in general. »