Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is suggesting he's open to giving Bombardier (BBDb.TO) a contract to replace Montreal's subway cars in order to stave off potential job losses at the company.

Couillard said today during an economic mission to Washington D.C. his government was in talks to award a contract to Bombardier after the company failed to secure more work at its plant in La Pocatiere, Que.

Bombardier's transport sector lost its bid for the $630 million project to supply Montreal's electric light rail network.

The contract went instead to its rival, French company Alstom, without any minimum guarantee for local Quebec content.

Bombardier's La Pocatiere plant is currently finishing an order for Montreal's Azur subway cars and the city's transit authority was planning to replace the remainder of its aging fleet for 2036.

Couillard says in order to save jobs at the plant he is considering advancing the contract and awarding it early to the company.