Belfast Telegraph

Boost for Belfast plant as Bombardier and Airbus copper-fasten C Series deal

By Ryan McAleer

Airbus is set to finalise its deal to take a majority stake in the C Series aircraft within three weeks, offering a major morale boost to workers at Belfast's Bombardier plant.

First announced in October, the deal has now received all regulatory approvals and will see the European-based aerospace giant own 50.01% of the commercial jet, part of which is manufactured here.

Bombardier and Investissement Quebec, which is run by the Province of Quebec, will own the rest.

The intervention of Airbus is considered a major shot in the arm for the troubled C Series.

The three entities said yesterday that the involvement of the European plane maker would help the C Series capitalise on the global market for 100-150-seat sized aircraft, which they project will require 6,000 new jets over the next 20 years.

In a joint announcement they said the jet was now positioned to capture "a large percentage" of the market.

Alongside delivering cost savings in parts, Airbus is also expected to package the C Series with its own models for global airlines.

Asked if the deal would affect the Belfast operation, where the wings for the jet are manufactured, Bombardier's chief financial officer John Di Bert said there would be "no changes" in its supply chain.

"The C Series has a great supply chain internal and external, that programme continues to ramp up," he said.

"We need all of the internal and external supply chain working and very focused on making it a success.

"So, no changes. The teams across the world at Bombardier are very excited about the continued support for the aircraft."

Welcoming the news, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said it was "symbolic of the bright future" for the C Series.

"The Belfast plant and the local workforce are an integral part of the C Series production and the programme continues to ramp up, with twice as many planes planned to be delivered this year as in 2017."

Belfast Telegraph

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