Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

New aircraft deals will send economy soaring

Ah Paris in the springtime, there's nothing like it. Certainly the local aerospace industry seems to think so after a few days at its event of the year, the Paris Airshow.

It may seem odd that Northern Ireland's economic health could be tied up in a few days of networking in the flying equivalent of the Balmoral Show but the number of deals coming out of the French capital is heart warming. Certainly there doesn't seem to have been much time for smoking Gauloises or drinking red wine.

We at the Belfast Telegraph had our own intrepid reporter Clare Weir at the event, in between dictating stories back to Belfast, she was getting to know the ins and outs of the CSeries aircraft, one which is key to the success of the sector in Northern Ireland.

The plane's makers Bombardier were able to reveal a host of new orders at the show which could amount to as many as 46 aircraft, the wings of which are made here in Northern Ireland. And at the time of writing the show hasn't even finished so more may have been added by the time you read this.

Great news for Bombardier and also for the industry which has grown up here to supply parts for the CSeries. In other sectors it's referred to as the multiplier effect and couldn't be better illustrated than by the £70m worth of contracts which have granted by the Canadian-owned company. Three of the companies which have been awarded the contracts are from here while the other two are US companies which are going to set up bases to deal with the orders. From a company which has seen its fair share of economic difficulties over the years, it's great to hear of these deals.

It certainly helps show the all-knowing Lord Sugar that he should think before he speaks.

He said he hadn't met an engineer who was good in business but perhaps he needs to pay a visit to Northern Ireland.

If any region of the UK or Ireland has an engineering sector that can stand up against the best in business then it's here. Just look at the likes of FG Wilson and Schrader Electrics, companies which are world beaters when it comes to their respective fields. And of course Bombardier. I'd like to see Lord Sugar repeat last week's outburst in front of Bombardier's CEO Michael Ryan.

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