Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

3. Bombardier Aerospace

Vice-President and General Manager: Michael Ryan

Employment: 4,975

Turnover: £487.1m (annualised)

Pre-tax profit: £57.4m (annualised)

Bombardier Aerospace designs and manufactures major structures for all of Bombardier’s aircraft families.

During the year, development continued on the advanced composite wing programmes for both Bombardier’s Learjet 85 business aircraft and the new CSeries aircraft — the latter representing the largest ever inward investment in Northern Ireland at £520 million.

Progress of the CSeries programme has generated a lot of interest within the aerospace industry and, towards the end of the year, production of composite components for the first flight test aircraft got under way. In addition, the second phase of the new wing factory was completed on schedule, with the third phase due to be completed by the end of 2012.

The wider benefits of the CSeries wing programme were also in evidence. More than 60 Northern Ireland companies have been involved in the development and test phase of the wing programme, or in the building or equipping of the new wing facility. And during the year, Bombardier announced it had awarded five companies up to £70 million worth of contracts to support the wing production — three local firms, as well as two US companies who have established bases in Belfast to carry out supply chain management and support services.

The company’s commitment to continued research and development was also highlighted with the formal opening in January this year of The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering centre (NIACE). Bombardier has invested £1.5 million in the £6 million industryled technology hub, which, with the support of the two local universities, will enable companies from a variety of sectors across Northern Ireland to develop new technologies and skills, and move up the value chain.

Looking to the future, in February this year, Bombardier signed an agreement to acquire the former Nortel facility at Doagh Road, Newtownabbey. The acquisition will enable the company to consolidate some parts of its business in one location, whilst at the same time allow for future business expansion.

Meanwhile, the company has continued to invest in the local community. In addition to supporting local charities and its employees in a wide range of volunteering initiatives, the company’s charitable Foundation has now donated close to £1 million to the West Belfast and Shankill Employers’ Forum, which it leads. To date, the Forum members have helped more than 1,000 long-term unemployed people find jobs.

The company was also one of 10 local firms to achieve Platinum level in the 2011 environmental survey carried out by Business in the Community’s Arena Network.

During the past year, Bombardier Aerospace changed its fiscal year end from 31 January to 31 December, in order to align itself with the fiscal year end of Bombardier’s rail transportation division.

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