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A project to give end-of-life aircraft a second wind

Polytechnique Montréal, in collaboration with the Centre technologique en aérospatiale (CTA) and Bombardier Aerospace and in the presence of partners, today announced the launch of a major research project focusing on aircraft reaching the end of their useful lives. This initiative of the Consortium de recherche et d'innovation en aérospatiale au Québec (CRIAQ), brings together researchers and industry people who will join forces to study the best ways to disassemble end-of-life aircraft safely and effectively while preserving to the greatest extent possible the plane's value and respecting environmental standards.
November 24, 2011

Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that approximately 250 to 300 commercial aircraft will be taken out of service every year. Industries will find themselves with a large number of planes in need of safe, effective dismantling. In addition to taking environmental issues into account, the management of these aircraft should be as profitable as possible. In short, the research will look at how to optimize the disassembly of reusable aircraft parts, dismantling and recycling of materials. The research team will have access to an ideal platform: a late-stage Bombardier CRJ200* on which they can perform their tests and formulate recommendations that will also help evaluate aircraft lifecycles and set out a design approach for future "green" aircraft.

The project has a total budget of $1.4 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and partners Bombardier Aerospace, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Aluminerie Alouette, BFI Canada, Sotrem-Maltech, CRIAQ, NanoQuébec and Mitacs, and also benefits from the collaboration of the CTA, Université Laval, École de technologie supérieure and McGill University. The project is being led by Kahina Oudjehani, an environmental design engineering professional with Bombardier Aerospace, and Christian Mascle, a professor at Polytechnique Montréal.

"Polytechnique is very proud to be the lead establishment in this group project made up of a team of experts committed to creating a sustainable-development approach to aircraft design," said Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique Montréal. "In addition to the results, which will have significant impacts both for the industry and for society, the project will employ two research associates and CTA technicians and will help train three post-doctoral students, seven doctoral students, four master's students and four undergraduate students. We hope that upon completing their studies, these students will join the ranks of aerospace companies as highly qualified staff."

For her part, Hélène V. Gagnon, Vice-President, Public Affairs, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility with Bombardier Aerospace, said: "Corporate social responsibility is a priority for Bombardier Aerospace, and our commitment to the environment is an essential element of our strategy. As builders, we need to take into account the impact of our operations on the environment at every phase of an aircraft's life, from design and production through to operation and the end of the craft's useful life. This is why we are proud to lead this end-of-life project." Ms. Gagnon added: "We are donating this CRJ200* airplane to contribute to research that will broaden knowledge applicable to the design process, which will make it easier to recycle the airplanes of tomorrow--a move that benefits both the industry and the planet."

The announcement was made in the presence of Nicole Ménard, Québec Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Montérégie region, and Caroline St-Hilaire, Mayor of Longueuil, to coincide with the official opening of the CTA offices on the campus of École nationale d'aérotechnique at Collège Édouard-Montpetit in St-Hubert.

The representatives of the CTA and Collège Édouard-Montpetit noted the innovative character of the research project. "As the Québec aerospace industry works to develop and test new designs for the development of a 'green' airplane, it is also focusing on ways to dispose of aircraft parts once an aircraft is retired," said CTA General Manager Pascal Désilets. "Not only is this strategy a promising one from a sustainable-development perspective, but it will allow us to strengthen the capacity for innovation in the Québec aerospace sector. This is precisely CTA's mission."

About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering university in Québec for the size of its student body and the scope of its research activities. With over 38,500 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has graduated 25% of the current members of the l'Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 16 engineering specialties, has 242 professors and more than 7,100 students. It has an annual operating budget of over $200 million, including a $72-million research budget.

About the Centre technologique en aérospatiale

Established in 1993, the Centre technologique en aérospatiale (CTA) is a technology-transfer centre affiliated with Collège Édouard-Montpetit and located on the school's École nationale d'aérotechnique campus. The CTA's industrial activities are constantly evolving. Today, it is recognized for its complementary work with various research and technology transfer groups in the aeronautics sector.

About Bombardier

A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011, were $17.7 billion, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.



Nathalie Richard
Communications and Recruitment Office
Polytechnique Montréal
Tel.: 514 340-4711, ext. 4537
Cell: 514 219-5922

Nathalie Coutu
Communications Advisor
National Institute of Aeronautics and CTA
Tel.: 450 678-3561, ext. 4503
Cell: 514 929-3805

Haley Dunne
Public Relations and Communications
Bombardier Aerospace
Tel.: 514 855-7989

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