Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier assures Belfast workers as Learjet production halted

By Clare Weir

Bombardier has said that a "pause" in the Learjet 85 business jet programme will have no impact on Belfast workers.

The firm has said that the suspension is due to weak demand for the aircraft and follows a downward revision of Bombardier's business aircraft market forecast.

Bombardier said it will cut its workforce by around 1,000 employees at its sites in Querétaro, Mexico, and Wichita, USA, during 2015. However, a spokeswoman for Bombardier said that workers in Belfast will not be affected.

In 2010 it announced that production of advanced composite parts for the Learjet 85 would be carried out in Belfast.

Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief executive officer of Bombardier, said that the firm will now focus resources on two other aircraft programmes under development, CSeries and Global 7000/8000, both of which have parts made in Belfast.

Meanwhile, the old C&C drinks factory in east Belfast, which was earmarked as a new film location, is now being rented by Bombardier.

The company has confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that it is renting the building for storage of equipment

The site of the C&C factory on the Castlereagh Road was bought last year by an unidentified buyer for £3.3m.

The 124,706 sq ft site had been rented to Universal Pictures in 2013 for the filming of Dracula Untold.

According to sources, five potential buyers, including Universal Pictures, viewed the property late last year after filming of the $100m movie had wrapped.

It is understood another film production company also showed interest in the site.

However, in the McConnell Property Consultants' Northern Ireland Briefing, issued this week, it was revealed that while film companies did indeed have their eyes on the complex, they were "beaten to the post" by Bombardier.

McConnell's briefing added: "NI Screen are crying out for more high-bay warehousing to accommodate an impressive production pipeline of film and television dramas."

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