MONTREAL, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Quebec expects to be in the black when it exits its minority stake at the end of the decade in Airbus's now money-losing A220 narrowbody jet program, the Canadian province's economy minister told Reuters.
Quebec holds a 25% stake in the jet, which has faced scrutiny as Airbus struggles to contain costs on parts. Airbus has also faced delays in ramping up production toward its latest target of 14 planes per month by 2026.
Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said the program, which was supposed to make money in 2025, should be in the black between 12 to 18 months later given strong market demand.
Aerospace is a key industry in predominately French-speaking Quebec.
In 2022, Quebec invested $300 million in the program, following an earlier $1 billion lifeline to the plane's original manufacturer Bombardier in 2016. Last year's agreement would allow the province to stay in the deal until it is bought out by Airbus in 2030.
"I think we're going to recuperate at least all of our money, if not more," Fitzgibbon said in an interview on Friday. "But the idea is that we're not going to lose money.”
The A220, which has roughly 110 or 130 seats depending on the model, is produced both in Mobile, Alabama, and in Mirabel, Quebec.
Airbus has said it plans to raise Mirabel production to 10 A220s a month, with four jets a month in Mobile. The planemaker created the Mobile production line for U.S. customers to avoid a trade dispute with Boeing when it took over the plane from Canada's Bombardier in 2018.
Fitzgibbon said Mirabel could produce A220 jets no matter which customer takes them as Mobile fills up.
"Any excess, regardless of where the plane will be sold, will be made in Mirabel." (Reporting by Allison Lampert; editing by Jonathan Oatis)