Belfast Telegraph

A new beginning... here's hoping Brexit does not impose barriers


By John Simpson

The huge investment over recent years in making the C Series aircraft, designed and assembled by Bombardier, with a major contribution by Belfast, is now giving its sponsors a better assurance of both its qualities as a modern passenger jet and its competitiveness in an expanding sector of the aerospace industry.

The co-operation with Airbus is proving a potential boost. In recent years the C Series has enjoyed the support of many in the sector who correctly anticipated the market opportunities for an aircraft of its capacity. Qualities include the engineering developments which are now incorporated into the design of the wings, coming from an expanding assembly process at the new Belfast factory.

But success for the C Series was not guaranteed. There were moments when, unreported, the managers at Bombardier must have seriously worried about whether the qualities of the new aircraft were strong enough to justify the level of financial support which had to be found, including Government support here in NI and from Canadian sources.

Commercial sales were slower to produce firm orders than expected.

That delay has been survived. Now the commercial success of the C Series has been boosted by the arrival of the Airbus investment and the redesignation of the aircraft as the Airbus A220.

The new A series is a commercially competitive product.

Looking ahead, it is important that there is no further threat from the competition authorities in the USA.

And it is also critical that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations leaves no tariff or non-tariff barriers when the plane is marketed across Europe.

Success was hard to achieve. Risks had to be taken. The reward will call for continuing competitive production costs.

Thankfully, prospects look good.

Belfast Telegraph