Good morning, and thank you, Madam Chair and committee members, for this chance to speak with you today.
Our aerospace industry and commercial air carriers have suffered greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The air travel restrictions brought in to address these real and immediate public health needs have brought the industry to a near standstill. The good news is that with vaccines and their efficacy, the industry is beginning to recover, and with it will come a demand for newer, more fuel-efficient planes.
Before I dive into sharing all the ways that Boeing is building a safer, cleaner future in aerospace, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to reflect on our rich and valued history with the aerospace industry in Canada, which stretches back over a hundred years now.
In March 1919, Bill Boeing and the pilot Eddie Hubbard flew 60 letters from Vancouver to Seattle in Washington state in a Boeing C-700 seaplane. That was the first international airmail to reach the United States. If you will permit me a tiny personal aside, about 30 years after that I was born in Vancouver, and I'm a fifth generation half-Canadian prairie farmer, so I'm delighted to be with the committee today. Thank you for inviting me.
I'll go back to aerospace.
Canada has since become a valued customer, supplier and partner to Boeing in both the defence and the commercial sectors.
Boeing Winnipeg is one of the largest aerospace composite manufacturing centres in Canada, employing well over 1,000 people. The plant produces hundreds of unique composite parts and assemblies for all our current 7-Series jetliners, and over the past 50 years it's evolved into a state-of-the-art facility. The skilled team of engineers and technicians develops new manufacturing techniques for lightweight aerospace products, earning their place as what Boeing calls a global centre of excellence in complex composites.
Across the world, Boeing believes strongly in community engagement. The Boeing Winnipeg team partners with charitable organizations there to support STEM education, veterans and other prevailing community needs through grants and employee volunteering. Actually, across Canada, we contribute more than $1 million in those types of sponsorships and grants.
Boeing Vancouver is a leading provider of advanced software solutions to the airline industry, and we have 200 employees there. Since 2000, their product offerings have evolved from just aviation maintenance to now include supplier management, flight monitoring and aviation marketing solutions.
Boeing Research and Technology is partnering with Canadian universities in the area of augmented virtual reality technologies, autonomous systems, data analytics, AI and advanced composites materials. We are a founding member of the Canadian digital technology supercluster based in B.C. Through this public-private partnership, our Vancouver team led a research project on the use of augmented reality for aircraft maintenance and inspection, and that's part of the digital aviation records system, DARS, project team that was just approved for funding through the B.C. supercluster. This will help ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and reduces waste and CO2 emissions through the adoption of data analytics, additive manufacturing, digital manufacturing, cloud computing and the Internet of things technologies.
These mutually beneficial partnerships will continue to both drive value for Boeing and secure Canada’s global position as the leader in these areas way into the future.
Boeing Defense has partnered with the Canadian Armed Forces for many years, particularly with our Chinook capabilities, and we are excited about the future fighter capability project, where our Super Hornet offering is one of the candidates for modernizing the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet. You heard Duff Sullivan, General Sullivan, a very distinguished former RCAF officer, who we are absolutely thrilled is now the head of our operations in Canada. It's really exciting to have Duff on the team.
Boeing has committed to the 100% industrial and technological benefits, ITB, obligation measured in Canadian content value that will provide work packages to Canadian companies of all sizes and specialties.
As commercial air travel resumes and restrictions ease, safeguarding passengers will remain a top priority for our work, and with that will come a commitment to innovating and operating to make the world a better place. We want to work in Canada on sustainable aviation fuels to help do that.
My final point, Madam Chair, is that before the pandemic, there were 620 commercial flights every day across Canada on Boeing planes. As demand comes back and more fuel-efficient, next-generation airplanes get taken up, we hope to work with our 500 Canadian suppliers right across the country to sell more planes. When you buy Boeing, we always say, you're buying Canadian.
There are many other exciting opportunities, but let me leave it there in the interest of time.
Thank you for listening so far. Thank you very much for having me.