What does a smaller Bombardier mean for aspiring aerospace engineers?

"We're in a nice aerospace ecosystem. It's evolving, it's natural," says one student who expects to get his master's in 2021.

With other Quebec players now in the industry, students are optimistic about their future

Mathieu Lavoie is among the 116 students pursuing a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at École de technologie supérieure. (CBC)

With Bombardier selling its commercial aviation division and holding onto its business jet unit, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) students studying aerospace engineering say they remain hopeful about their future in the industry.

"It is not a fear for me, [whether] there are more or less internships for us," says Mathieu Lavoie, a graduate student in aerospace engineering.

Last year, more than 700 ÉTS undergraduate and master's students completed internships in the aerospace industry.

"We're in a nice aerospace ecosystem. It's evolving, it's natural," says Lavoie, who expects to obtain his degree in about a year-and-a-half.

Last year, 716 ÉTS undergraduate and master’s students completed internships in the aerospace industry. (CBC)

Montreal one of three aerospace capitals worldwide

Montreal is a big aerospace hub, competing with Toulouse, France (where Airbus is based) and Seattle (where Boeing has roots).

More than 40,000 people worked in aerospace in Quebec last year, according to Aéro Montréal, an association representing Quebec's aerospace industry.

Bombardier developed the industry and has been a key player for years.

That helped usher in other companies and diversify the industry, which means master's students like Paul Meyran have options once they graduate.

"There are a lot. There could be big companies like Airbus, Safran and CAE. It could be in aeronautics, aerospace, it's a very diverse domain," he said.

Meyran says there could even be opportunities to work for small or medium-sized businesses.

Plus Bombardier is still building business jets.

According to the Quebec corporation, after the sale of its rail division is finalized in summer 2021, it will have about 18,000 employees, approximately 10,000 of whom are in Quebec.

Airbus says A220 jobs to stay in Quebec

For now, Airbus says it will keep all 3,300 A220 jobs in Quebec.

Aéro Montréal says that commitment to grow the program in the province shows Quebec aerospace is and can remain competitive.

For students like Lavoie, that reinforces the idea that the industry has a promising future.

He also points out there are several aerospace programs in Montreal universities that allow students to work in the field, and perhaps improve the industry.

"We have the expertise here.… In Quebec, it's a big part of what we do best," he said.