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Bombardier’s C Series deal with Airbus set to secure Belfast jobs

DUP leader hails agreement as ‘significant’ for aerospace giant

By Steven Alexander

A major deal between Bombardier and Airbus announced late last night represents “great news” for workers in Northern Ireland, the plane manufacturer has said.

European multinational Airbus is to acquire a majority stake in Canadian-owned Bombardier’s C Series aircraft, the wings of which are made in its east Belfast factory.

DUP leader Arlene Foster MLA said the announcement represented “incredibly significant news for Bombardier, Belfast and Northern Ireland”.

And Michael Ryan, President of Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services, said: “This is great news for our Belfast site.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to build on our existing supplier relationship with Airbus.”

Mr Ryan added: “Today’s announcement serves to strengthen the position of the C Series aircraft programme on the international market, and the resulting momentum will be felt positively in our business and throughout the Northern Ireland and UK supply chain.”

Mrs Foster said Airbus “clearly recognise the value of the C Series”.

“I welcome their interest and investment,” she said. “Having personally supported the aircraft through its development, I’m thrilled there is a bright future ahead following what has been a dark time for staff and management.

“Airbus are a fitting partner. I look forward to engaging with them closely. Airbus and Bombardier Belfast know each other well. There are good synergies between the companies. I hope this will safeguard the C Series programme.”

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson added: “Over the last four months, our focus has been the Belfast workforce and securing a successful resolution to this ongoing dispute.

“Whilst there is some way to travel, we will offer our full support in securing the necessary regulatory approvals.

“The commitment to the Belfast facility is a testament to the ingenuity of the workforce. They should be proud that their valuable capability will continue to play a crucial role in C Series.”

Bombardier has been trying to stop a cash drain after the C Series came to market behind schedule and $2bn over budget.

The delays and cost overruns prompted Bombardier to accept a $1bn investment from Quebec.

Bombardier, which employs more than 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland, was then hit by a proposed 300% tariff on exports to the US that threatened jobs in Belfast. It followed a complaint by US maker Boeing, which accused Bombardier of dumping the C Series at below market value. Bombardier believes it can now circumvent the US tariff by moving part of its production to Arizona.

Belfast Telegraph

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