Chorus buys six new Bombardier planes, union says will result in plant closure

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LONDON, Ont. - Chorus Aviation Inc. says it has made US$13 million in pre-delivery payments for six new Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) Q400 NextGen airplanes, a move its union says will result in the closure of a maintenance base and job losses.

The airline operator said Thursday it exercised six of 15 options to buy the new planes, which will be operated by its subsidiary Jazz Aviation, under the Air Canada Express brand.

The new aircraft will replace nine aging jets, which Chorus (TSX:CHR.B) says will result in a more efficient fleet.

However, the Canadian Auto Workers union says the acquisition will result in the closure of a heavy maintenance base in London, Ont., next summer.

About 200 people will be affected by the closure, including 150 union members and 50 management staff, but workers will be offered employment at other locations based on seniority.

The six planes are slated for delivery at a rate of two per month in February, March and April of 2013 and will be operational about a month after delivery.

Organizations: Bombardier, TSX, Aviation Inc. Jazz Aviation Air Canada Express Canadian Auto Workers union

Geographic location: LONDON, London, Ont.

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