After acquiring Canadair in 1986 and restoring it to profitability, Bombardier in 1989 acquired the near-bankrupt Short Brothers aircraft manufacturing company in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This was followed in 1990 by the acquisition of the bankrupt Learjet Company of Wichita, Kansas, builder of the Learjet business aircraft, and finally the money-losing Boeing subsidiary, de Havilland Aircraft of Canada-based in Toronto, Ontario in 1992.
The aerospace division now accounts for over half of the company's revenue. Bombardier's most popular aircraft currently include its Dash 8 Series 400, CRJ100/200/440, and CRJ700/900/1000 lines of regional airliners. It also manufactures the Bombardier 415 amphibious water-bomber (in Dorval and North Bay), the Global Express and the Challenger business jet. Learjet is also a subsidiary of Bombardier based in Wichita, KS.
Bombardier had been in discussions with Mirabel, Quebec (near Montreal) and Kansas City, Missouri for a $375 million assembly plant, for its future CSeries aircraft, which Bombardier is marketing as a replacement for ageing DC-9, MD-80, and early, smaller versions of the Boeing 737.
This new jet, which offers 110-seat and 130-seat versions, competes with the Boeing 737 Next Generation 737-600, 737-700, Airbus A318, Airbus A319, and Embraer 195. Bombardier claims the CSeries will burn 20% less fuel per trip than these competitors, which would make it still about 8% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 737 Max scheduled for introduction 3 years later in 2017.
The launch customer for the CSeries, Lufthansa, has signed a letter of intent for up to 60 aircraft and 30 options. The manufacturing complex in Montreal will be redeveloped by Ghafari Associates to incorporate lean manufacturing of its CSeries aircraft.
Also in March 2011, Bombardier announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China's ICBC Financial Leasing to provide advanced aircraft payment financing for Bombardier customers worth $8 billion.
In January 2012, Bombardier began manufacturing simple structures such as flight controls for the CRJ series from a transitional facility near Casablanca, Morocco, its first facility in Africa. On 30 September 2013, it broke ground on its permanent facility, due to open late 2014.
In October 2012, a joint development deal between Bombardier Aerospace and a government-led South Korean consortium was revealed, to develop a 90-seater turboprop regional airliner, targeting a 2019 launch date. The consortium would include Korea Aerospace Industries and Korean Air Lines.
In November 2012, the company announced the largest deal in its history, with Swiss luxury aviation company VistaJet, to deliver 56 Bombardier Global jets for a total value of $3.1 billion. The deal includes an option for Bombardier to manufacture and sell an additional 86 Global jets, which would value the entire transaction at $7.3 billion.
In July 2014, Bombardier announced a corporate reorganisation in response to its underperformance. President Guy Hachey retired and Bombardier Aerospace was split into three divisions: business aircraft, commercial aircraft and aerostructures and engineering services. As part of the corporate overhaul, 1,800 job cuts were also announced.