Winnipeg aerospace company faces uncertainty with feds rethinking purchase of F-35 jets
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 11:57AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:32PM CST
It's not news Magellan Aerospace in Winnipeg wanted to hear.
Ottawa is halting the purchase of the F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin after costs ballooned by tens of billions of dollars.
“We have hit the reset button,” said Rona Ambrose, federal minister of public works on Wednesday.
The federal government said it will look at other options, but won’t make a decision until a review plan and an options analysis are completed.
Magellan said it has spent $65 million on a new facility to build tail wings for the F-35 jets.
It said it is disappointed because it was eyeing a billion dollars worth of work from the F-35 deal, with a majority of that work to be done in Winnipeg.
“Oh, we definitely are worried, there is definitely a concern there but we just don't know how much of a concern and when it will impact us," said Jim Butyniec, CEO of Magellan Aerospace.
Magellan worries Lockheed Martin will give future contracts to companies and services in other countries if Canada backs out of the F-35 deal.
The union that represents aerospace workers in Manitoba said Ottawa’s indecision is putting workers at risk.
"For them to back track right now in any way and not ensure that this work does come to Magellan to protect, not only Magellan, the company, and also our members - that is something they shouldn't do,” said CAW Manitoba Area Director Tom Murphy
The feds aren’t ruling out buying the F-35 jets, but said they are reviewing all options.