Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region announced $47.45 million in financial contributions to support the mobilization of four Québec aerospace industry projects at the Aéro Montréal Annual General Meeting on April 21. The event took place at the École nationale d’aérotechnique. More than 200 players from the Québec aerospace industry were in attendance. The major investments are targeted at projects related to sustainable mobility in aerospace and the aircraft of the future.

Collaborative innovation for the advancement of the Québec aerospace industry

Aéro Montréal reviewed its most significant achievements of 2022 with particular focus on the success of its eco-responsibility initiative which serves to promote a more responsible approach by SMEs. The Québec government confirmed its commitment to support responsible collaborative innovation.

The total investment of the four projects in question is estimated at more than $94.9 million. Support for these projects by the Québec government will enable eight companies to combine efforts to carry out projects for the development of products, technological solutions, and innovative processes. This will also involve universities, public research centers, and SMEs. These projects were selected after a call was made by the government in July 2022 to support the development of technologies related to the transportation of tomorrow. SA²GE, the Regroupement pour le développement de l’avion plus écologique, will be responsible for the planning, monitoring, and control of activities related to the mobilizing projects.

“Quebec’s aerospace industry stands out for its ability to innovate, particularly in the area of sustainable mobility. Through these mobilizing projects, we are taking a step further toward making the aircraft of tomorrow a reality and thus reducing GHG emissions in Québec and internationally,” explained Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.

“Québec companies must invest in innovation to remain competitive,” added Mélanie Lussier, President and CEO of Aéro Montréal.  “The Québec government’s support is a strong signal to our members, who for many years have been committed to contributing to a more sustainable economy and who are innovating to ensure better access to Québec products and services, including in remote areas. We must seize the opportunity offered by Québec’s well-developed network of companies, researchers and research institutes to create synergies among the players and offer ever more innovative solutions to meet the current needs of our society.”

A look at the supported mobilizing projects

Aquarel 3 Project – Les dirigeables Flying Whales Québec inc. and Thales Canada
Les dirigeables Flying Whales Québec inc. and Thales Canada are partnering on the AQUAREL 3 project. This mobilization project will enable the two partners to develop an ultra-compact electric flight control system and a state-of-the-art connected avionics suite intended for integration in the Flying Whales airship. The LCA60T Flying Whale is a next-generation aircraft for point-to-point transport of heavy or bulky loads in remote or landlocked areas with a specific emphasis on minimizing environmental footprint.

CADAQ-100 Project – Airbus Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada and SAF+ Consortium
The CADAQ-100 mobilization project brings together Airbus Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada and SAF+ Consortium. Their aim is to support greater utilization of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Together, they will study and test multiple varieties of SAF, including in-flight testing of 100% pure “unblended” SAF on the Airbus A220 aircraft. It will be propelled by Pratt & Whitney GTFMC engines, and e-SAF manufactured by the Power to Liquid (PtL) process, as developed by the SAF+ Consortium. Also included in this project will be economic feasibility studies for establishing a commercial SAF production plant in Québec, providing a local, sustainable facility to help decarbonize the aviation industry. This is the ultimate goal of the SAF+ Consortium.

CMC Electronics and Bell Textron Canada Ltd. Project
The Bell Textron Canada Limited and CMC Electronics project proposal includes the development of systems to perform autonomous hybrid electric-powered logistics missions. The goal will be to develop a portfolio of technologies that will address energy efficiency, air traffic management system adaptability, and safety issues related to future autonomous aircraft.

CSAF Project – Bombardier and Thales Canada
The Control System for the Aircraft of the Future (CSAF) project is a collaboration between Bombardier and Thales Canada, Avionics. It aims to create a control platform for tomorrow’s aircraft with a reduced environmental footprint. The project focuses on the development of a modular airborne systems testbed for new control architectures to optimize weight, volume, and power requirements on board. It will also enable new design approaches capable of enhancing the environmental performance of aircraft.

“SA2GE, the Regroupement pour le développement de l’avion plus écologique, is pleased to contribute to the development of aircraft technologies of the future, thanks to the know-how of its partners,” expressed Ghislain Lafrance, president of the Regroupement. “Collaborative and mobilizing innovation remains the driving force behind the aerospace industry, a key sector of Québec’s economic development.”

Also, at Aéro Montréal’s Annual General Meeting, was the opportunity to highlight the many achievements of the cluster in 2022 and the extensive involvement of industry members in the various working groups and committees. The total involvement included more than 410 hours of work with a total in-kind contribution estimated at nearly $860,520.