Bombardier was founded in 1942 to manufacture tracked vehicles for snow travel and broke into the aviation scene in the early 1970s when it acquired the Austrian Lohnewerke GmbH and its subsidiary Rotax-Werk AG (later Bombardier-Rotax GmbH), the supplier of snow mobile and microlight engines. In December of 1986 they acquired Canadair; in October 1989 Short Brothers of Northern Ireland; in June 1990 Learjet Corporation and in 1992 purchased 51 percent of de Havilland Canada. In January 1997, they purchased the remaining 49 percent of DHC from the Province of Ontario.
Bombardier's aerospace operations delivered 227 regional, business and utility aircraft during the organization's 1998-99 fiscal year, a 28% increase compared with the previous period. The production rate for the CRJ-100/200 was raised to 7.5 aircraft per month from six.