Northern Ireland's aircraft industry received a major boost today with the announcement of 100 new jobs for plane maker Shorts.
Michael Ryan, vice-president and general manager of Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are recruiting around 100 employees over the next few months.
"The company is advertising for permanent positions across a range of functions including engineering, supply chain, customer support, finance and reprographics," he added.
The news follows recent recruitment of more than 120 jobs — and there is the promise of further jobs as Bombardier responds to new demand in the industry.
Just last January, the future of Belfast's historical place in the aircraft industry looked bleak with Bombardier Aerospace, known locally as Shorts, laying off hundreds of workers.
Bombardier is now considering developing more new aircraft, like the proposed 110-130-seat C-Series commercial aircraft family, scheduled to enter service in 2013.
Belfast is bidding for the composite wings and engine nacelles for the C-Series, on which a decision will be taken later this year.
These work packages would further advance the capabilities and skills in Belfast, as well as generating between 1,100 and 1,900 jobs during peak production.
Mr Ryan said: "As Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, celebrates its centenary this year, we are witnessing a surge in demand for our products and enjoying a very positive outlook.
"The aerospace industry is currently experiencing an upturn in the market and Bombardier is now enjoying a period of growth.
"Bombardier's regional and business aircraft products, in which Belfast plays a major design and manufacturing role, are witnessing a surge in demand, and as a result we in Belfast are actively recruiting."
Overall orders for Bombardier aircraft have almost doubled in the past year, from 363 to 698 aircraft, resulting in a record backlog.
And over the next 10-20 years, Bombardier expects its products to continue to generate strong interest across all markets.
It predicts that business aircraft manufacturers will deliver a total of 13,200 jets between 2008 and 2017, and that demand for 20-149 seat commercial aircraft should reach around 12,900 new aircraft up to 2027.
In recent months, the Belfast operation has taken on around 120 permanent employees, the majority of whom have been in operations, in addition to temporary staff and subcontractors to deal with the current upsurge in demand.
The company is continuing to invest in its Belfast facilities and capabilities, such as recent investment of some £70m in aircraft programmes, including Bombardier's new CRJ1000 NextGen regional jet, in which Belfast is again playing a leading role.