A proud moment for Bombardier workforce as CSeries takes off
Workers at the Bombardier plant in east Belfast are flying high after watching the maiden flight of the company's new CSeries commercial aircraft.
Nearly 5,000 staff at the Short Bros plant – which has been producing the advanced composite wings for the aircraft – watched the historic moment through a webcast.
CSeries aircraft wings are the largest and most complex composite structures manufactured and assembled in the UK using a unique resin transfer infusion technology, developed and patented by Bombardier Belfast.
Northern Ireland's biggest inward investment saw £520m being put into the Belfast site so that the wings could be made.
The CSeries aircraft wing programme will employ over 800 people at Bombardier Belfast when at full production in a few years' time and will be involved with around 70 suppliers across Northern Ireland.
East Belfast MLA Robin Newton hailed the flight as a major triumph for the management and employees of Bombardier.
"The employees on the East Belfast site who have developed the cutting edge composite materials for the aircraft wings can be rightly proud of their achievements," he said.
"Bombardier is a key employer within the Northern Ireland economy and East Belfast. The business not only supports the on-site employees but also many small local firms and their staff who supply goods and services to Bombardier.
"The future success of the Cseries will secure the jobs and enhance the company's prospects and help protect the East Belfast site for years to come".
Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager of Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast said: "Given our Belfast operation's involvement in the CSeries aircraft programme, in particular in the design and manufacture of the advanced composite wings, this is an achievement of which all our employees and our supply chain should be justly proud. I'm delighted that everyone's hard work and efforts have come to fruition in this historic event.
"The CSeries aircraft wings are produced using a patented Resin Transfer Infusion process developed by our Belfast engineers. This takes place uniquely under one roof – from receipt of raw carbon fibre material, through fabrication, our RTI system, wing assembly and functional testing, to delivery of completed wings. The use of this technology to produce such large aero-structures is a world first, and we believe it is a step change in aircraft wing design and manufacture."