MIRABEL, Que. -- Bombardier Inc. CEO Alain Bellemare says the transport giant needs an Alabama assembly line regardless of whether the United States proceeds with massive duties on imports of the company's C Series commercial jets.

Bellemare tells The Canadian Press he is disappointed but not surprised by the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision Wednesday to impose duties of 292.21 per cent.

He says nothing justifies such duties.

Boeing launched the trade case in April, arguing that governments in Canada and Britain subsidized the plane's development which allowed Bombardier to sell it at unfairly low prices.

Airbus, Boeing's European rival, reached a deal with Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) in October to purchase a 50.01 per cent stake in the C Series commercial jet and plans to build an assembly line in Alabama for American customers while maintaining the primary line in Mirabel, Que.

Bellemare says the Alabama facility is crucial to a deal Bombardier has to provide Delta Air Lines with 75 CS100 planes.