Belfast Telegraph

Aircraft industry has power to lift us all

In two days of business news there's one country which features heavily. Canada's contribution to the economy here has been apparent for all to see since 1989 when Montreal-based Bombardier took over airplane maker Short Brothers.

There have obviously been some ups and downs when it comes to the fortunes of the east Belfast facility but yesterday's news of an order for up to 142 business jets is surely one of those days when it all comes together.

After a few weeks when being a business journalist in Northern Ireland involved a mixture of administrations, bankruptcies and job losses, it comes as something of a relief to be able to write about good news for the economy here.

The biggest ever order for Bombardier has many benefits for us, particularly as some of the main components of the business jet are made in Belfast and the company has already said that the deal has cemented the near-term future of the 900-odd workforce assigned to the aircraft.

But if you look at the bigger picture, the order bodes well for the health of the global economy as a whole.

Bombardier's range of Global jets are not your run of the mill aircraft but are aimed at wealthy individuals or companies who need to get around the world in the shortest possible time, and also in style.

The fact that VistaJet, the Swiss company which placed the order and which rents out planes to such a hifalutin clientele is seeing such demand for its services is surely good news.

It may not have a huge amount of customers in Northern Ireland but as always we tend to lag behind other economies in the world so if they're looking up then we can't be too far behind.

There had been worries over the potential for the C-series aircraft, another of Bombardier's planes which are partly built in Belfast, given recent delays to the timing of its first test flight, but only last week the company seemed more optimistic about getting this mammoth project off the ground. It told Reuters it could carry out the maiden flight of the jetliner early in the new year rather than in June as it had originally predicted.

With any luck, good news such as this will continue, for the aircraft industry and for Northern Ireland.

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