Boeing backs Québec’s new aerospace innovation zone with $240 million CAD

Québec said Espace Aéro comes with $415 million in planned investment.

The Government of Québec is bringing together aerospace leaders with the creation of its fourth innovation zone, Espace Aéro.  

“With Bombardier, Airbus and now Boeing, Quebec is the only place in the world where we find the three largest aircraft manufacturers in the world.” 
– Pierre Fitzgibbon

The province said the aerospace innovation zone comes with $415 million in planned investment and a mandate to focus development on decarbonization as well as aircraft autonomy and safety. The province will be providing $85 million to the project while private sector contributions make up $300 million. BetaKit has reached out to the Government of Québec to confirm the remaining financial commitments. 

Aviation giant Boeing will be providing the bulk of the project’s total funding with a $240 million contribution broken down into three parts. Nearly half of that, $110 million, is for the creation of an aerospace development centre in the innovation zone to host aerospace research and development focused on decarbonization, electrification, autonomy, digitalization, and advanced materials. 

Another $95 million will go towards staffing Boeing’s subsidiary in Québec, Wisk, with more employees to help create an electric drone taxi plane, and $35 million will be given to Québec aerospace company Héroux-Devtek for research and development of landing gear. The federal government said Boeing’s investment is part of its $5.4 billion Industrial and Technological Benefits commitment. 

“With Bombardier, Airbus and now Boeing, Quebec is the only place in the world where we find the three largest aircraft manufacturers in the world,” Pierre Fitzgibbon, Québec’s Minister of the Economy, Innovation, and Energy said in a statement. “The new Espace Aéro zone will strengthen the aerospace industry in Quebec by attracting major investments, stimulating innovation and training new talents to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s aviation.”

The innovation zone project, under the leadership of the Aéro Montréal innovation cluster, will be made up of three hubs across Montréal and the surrounding areas of Longueuil and Mirabel. 

The Longueuil center will bring together various aerospace schools with the intention of supporting an aerospace training and research infrastructure project, while the Mirabel cluster will offer a testing environment for large-scale experimentation and simulations of autonomous and drone technologies, and Montréal will host the flagship Collaborative Center for Innovation in Aerospace and Mobility. 

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Flying Whales Quebec, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bombardier, Thales Canada, and Airbus, are among the other aerospace companies making $60 million in financial commitments to projects in the province as part of the innovation zone. 

Aéro Montréal will also receive $19.2 million, including $12.5 million from the Quebec government, to launch an initiative to increase business productivity and performance called Aéro Compétitivité. The province is also giving $3.3 million to the Quebec Aerospace Research and Innovation Consortium and $3.5 million to the Fonds de recherche du Québec. 

Québec first started rolling out its innovation zones in February 2022, starting with quantum-focused DistriQ in Sherbrooke and Bromont’s Technum Québec zone for digital technologies. In May 2023, Québec designated Energy Transition Valley in Bécancour as an innovation zone for batteries, electrification transport, green hydrogen, and industrial decarbonization. The innovation zones aim to foster business growth, attract foreign private investment to the province, and lower the environmental footprint of the economy. 

Québec has been actively investing in tech in recent months, funding Zone AgTech with nearly $42 million at the end of March to establish an Agtech innovation centre in L’Assomption, a city approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Montréal. In April, the governments of Canada and Québec also earmarked $16 million to create an AI computing cluster at Université Laval and $85 million to help IBM expand its semiconductor assembly plant in Bromont, Québec.

Feature image courtesy Pierre Fitzgibbon via LinkedIn

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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