Belfast Telegraph

Belfast jobs secure after Bombardier cuts 1,700 from payroll

By Clare Weir

Jobs in Belfast are safe despite almost 2,000 workers being laid off by planemaker Bombardier in the USA and Canada, the company has said.

It was revealed yesterday that up to 1,700 positions will be cut over the next few weeks, a mixture of both permanent employees and contractors.

A spokeswoman for the company – headquartered in Quebec and with a number of sites in Northern Ireland – said that many of the workers are not employed directly on Bombardier projects.

"Belfast is not affected by the reduction in workforce levels," she said.

"In addition to the Bombardier programmes on which we work, we provide products and services to other international manufacturers, which include our engine nacelles production and our growing after-market support business.

"This mix of work and the variance of production rates enable us to re-allocate labour across all our programmes, thereby protecting jobs."

She added: "We are confident in the future that we are building with our continued investment in new products, such as the CSeries aircraft programme, for which the workforce in Belfast are producing the advanced composite wings."

The news came a day after the "sluggish" global economy has been blamed for a drop in orders over the last year for aerospace company Bombardier.

The firm said it received orders for 388 aircraft in 2013, a drop from 481 orders in 2012.

Bombardier also delivered 238 aircraft during the year, up from 233 in 2012.

During 2013 one amphibious aircraft was delivered to a customer in the US and over 180 business jets, compared to 179 for the previous year, were signed over to customers.

Last week Bombardier announced a £1bn deal for new aircraft – on the same day as it revealed a delay in its latest model entering service.

Al Qahtani Aviation Company could order up to 26 Bombardier CSeries planes, the wings of which were designed and are currently being built in Belfast.

The planes will be operated by SaudiGulf Airlines, the newly launched national carrier for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

However, Bombardier has also now said that the entry into service of the CS100 aircraft is now expected in the second half of 2015.

The company notified the workforce of cuts in an internal memo.

Bombardier said it needs to preserve cash amid delays in the CSeries commercial jet and Learjet 85 business jet as well as due to tough market conditions.

The layoffs represent 6% of the workforce at Bombardier Aerospace.

About 1,100 of the 22,200 Bombardier Aerospace employees in Canada are affected by the pending layoffs, about 80% in Montreal.

In the United States, another 600 of 5,700 positions will be axed by the company.

Belfast Telegraph