Economy, Domestic Economy

Bombardier Hopes to Catch Up With Rivals in Iran

Bombardier competes with Brazilian rival Embraer for the title of the third largest aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus.Bombardier competes with Brazilian rival Embraer for the title of the third largest aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus.

The CEO of Canadian multinational aerospace and transportation company Bombardier Inc. says the company was a little late on chasing opportunities in Iran but should be able to catch up with rivals following Canada’s lifting of sanctions.

“We started maybe a little bit behind but I’m pretty sure we’re going to be able to catch up now,” Alain Bellemare said in an interview with Toronto-based business magazine Canadian Business.

Bombardier Aerospace, a division of Bombardier Inc., competes with Brazilian rival Embraer for the title of the third largest aircraft manufacturer after Boeing and Airbus, having delivered more than 2,450 commercial aircraft and over 3,400 business aircraft worldwide. It is headquartered in Dorval, Quebec, Canada.

Bellemare said Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion’s move earlier this year to lift sanctions has been useful in helping gain market access.

In a statement issued on February 5, Canada’s new government said it was lifting some sanctions against Iran, including a ban on financial services, imports and exports, thereby allowing companies such as planemaker Bombardier to compete against rivals.

The European Union, the United States and other major nations have already lifted some of their own restrictive measures against Iran, leading to complaints that Canadian companies were being left behind. Dion said Bombardier, as well as oil, gas, chemical and agricultural companies, should benefit.

“For them, of course, it’s great news,” he told reporters, citing the importance of gaining access to the Iranian market of 80 million people.

With teams on the ground now in Iran, Bellemare said he’s not concerned about winning its share of new orders, although the process is challenging.

The Canadian plane and train maker sees opportunities to sell regional rail services along with regional jets and CSeries planes as Iranian companies look to modernize.

Meanwhile, Iran says it is in talks with Canadian flag carrier Air Canada to establish a direct flight between Montreal and Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport.

In September 2012, the administration of the former Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, severed diplomatic contacts with the Islamic Republic, citing, among other pretexts, “continued threats from Iran to Israel”.

Canada shut its embassy in Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats to leave the North American country within five days. The Italian Embassy has been handling Canada’s interests in Iran since then.

However, Trudeau came to office in the 2015 election on a promise of change, including changes in foreign policy. He has expressed willingness on several occasions to see Canada’s Embassy reopen in Tehran

Airbus and Boeing said last month they had received US Treasury approval to begin exporting over 200 jets to Iran, under a deal struck in January. Airbus won approval to export the first 17 jets in a $27 billion transaction announced in January as economic sanctions were eased. Boeing is still finalizing terms to provide as many as 109 jets to Iran Air.

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