Belfast Telegraph

Aircraft maker's profits take wing in 2011

One of Northern Ireland's biggest employers proved it has weathered the economic storm by doubling its profits in 2011.

Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier's Belfast arm posted pre-tax profits of $84.5m (£53.9m) last year.

This was a sharp jump from the $41.4m (£26.4m) it made in 2010.

Encouragingly, the results show a hefty increase in efficiency with 2011's profits 11.8% of revenue compared to only 5.6% in 2010.

Chairman Sir George Quigley said the result confirms the company's 'transformation programme' to drive business performance is having a big impact.

He said the expansion of the firm's aftermarket support business also helped, as did the extension of the Belfast repair capability on some of the company's commercial aircraft to the Bombardier Dallas facility so as to service North American customers.

Meanwhille, construction of the second stage of Bombardier's new wing manufacturing and assembly facility at Airport Road West has been completed and the final phase is expected to be finished at the end of 2012.

He said the CSeries aircraft is increasingly important to the Belfast base.

"Bombardier's investment in the CSeries aircraft, representing the largest ever inward investment in Northern Ireland, received encouraging support during the year through the growing customer order book for the CSeries family of aircraft."

And he is confident for the base's future.

"As we look ahead, I am confident that the continued implementation of our Achieving Excellence System will enable us to develop our capabilities to meet the growing global competitive challenges and the increasing demands of our customers.

"Critically, it will also help us develop to the full the potential of our people and further mobilise, engage and empower them to drive continuous improvement throughout the business."