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Decade of profits at Bombardier's Belfast business wiped out amid one of its 'worst ever periods'

By Margaret Canning

Published 06/06/2016

Bombardier in east Belfast
Bombardier in east Belfast

A decade of profits at the Belfast operations of aerospace giant Bombardier have been wiped out after what it said was one of its “worst ever periods” in its history.

The east Belfast company, officially known as Short Brothers plc, had a pre-tax loss of $339m (£235.6m), which it said this morning had wiped out profits made over the last 10 years. 

In its results for 2015, the company said it was struggling with tough economic conditions around the world and a lack of new aircraft programmes. 

But it said that the certification of its new C Series narrow-bodied passenger jet – the wings of which are made in Belfast – had been the one bright spot in a very bad year. 

The C Series was around $2bn (£1.4m) over-budget and two years delayed at the time of its launch — and the abbreviated annual report and financial statements this morning said the operating loss of $280m (£194.6m) included an impairment of $357m (£248m), mainly relating to a write down on the C Series. 

The firm said: “2015 has proven to be one of the most challenging and demanding in the history of Short Brothers PLC, and these challenges will continue for the company as Bombardier is faced with ongoing global competitiveness issues influenced by market conditions.”

A company report referred to 360 Belfast job losses from its complementary labour force but did not disclose any further job cut plans. 

It’s to let go up to 1,000 people from its 5,000-strong Belfast workforce between now and the end of next year, in line with total global job losses of 7,000.

Last week the company joined C Series customer SWISS at the Dublin agm of Iata to unveil the C Series in SWISS livery. 

It celebrated an order from Delta Airlines of the C Series — a challenger in a market dominated by Airbus and Boeing — in April.  Delta has order 125 of the jets, with 75 firm orders and options for 50 more. 

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