The A220 order book is full for several years at Airbus Canada in Mirabel. But to meet orders, the aerospace manufacturer must hire hundreds of employees. Even for this international company, the challenge is significant in the context of a shortage of qualified labor.
For the past year, Airbus advertisements have been part of the Montreal landscape, both on the roadsides and in the media. The objective is to continue to attract candidates to swell the ranks of its more than 3,000 employees in Mirabel.
This is because Airbus intends to increase its production capacities. “We are currently ramping up production on the A220 program,” says William Denaire, Senior Director, Human Resources, A220 Program at Airbus Canada.
While Airbus produces 6 A220 planes per month in Mirabel and at its American factory in Mobile, the objective is to increase to 14 planes per month in 2026. Most of this growth is located on Quebec soil, where the aerospace manufacturer has six times as many employees as Mobile, Alabama.
In 2023, Airbus had a record year, delivering 68 examples of the A220. “It’s a record for us, but we plan to beat it in 2024 and over the next few years,” says William Denaire. The order book shows that records are indeed set to fall: the company has recorded more than 914 orders so far, including 142 new orders in the past year.
Hundreds of hires in sight
Airbus has recruited 700 people in Quebec over the past two years. “We will continue to grow to meet the needs of the A220 program,” says William Denaire. The company is hiring in all sectors, whether in production, where it needs mechanics, quality control professionals and management and supervisory staff, or in production support, where it wishes to attract specialists information technology and cybersecurity, method officers, aeronautical engineers and customer support professionals.
In total, Airbus intends to hire several hundred people over the next two years. However, if these recruitments are necessary to allow the acceleration of the production rate, the company faces the shortage of qualified labor on the Quebec market.
Presence in schools
Airbus’ communications efforts in the greater Montreal area and in Quebec are part of its strategy to achieve its goals.
We want to promote our employer brand in Quebec, where we are one of the main employers in aerospace. (…) We want to make it known that we are present for the long term, and that we are looking for talent on the Quebec market.
William Denaire, Senior Director, Human Resources, A220 Program at Airbus Canada
Airbus’ actions are not limited to advertising campaigns. “We work a lot with schools, and we want to go further by establishing partnerships with universities and technical schools,” explains Mr. Denaire.
In addition to the A220 already deployed at the National Aerotechnic School, other equipment could be made available to schools, envisages Mr. Denaire, who mentions ongoing discussions with educational establishments. “It’s a model that we have in Europe, particularly in our own school in Toulouse. »