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Boeing flies in to land big deals with Northern Ireland aerospace firms

Eight firms from Northern Ireland have been exploring business opportunities with the world's largest aerospace manufacturer. A delegation of senior officials from Boeing, and one of its major supply chain companies, spent four days in Northern Ireland visiting firms including Hutchinson Aerotech and Datum Tool Design.

Boeing is currently on the search for global partners to work with it to develop new technologies for its future aircraft, and to strengthen its supply chain in support of its growing order book.

Boeing has more than 250 suppliers in the United Kingdom and spent £1bn with them in 2013.

Sir Michael Arthur, president at Boeing UK and Ireland, said that the company had close links to suppliers around the world.

"Boeing greatly valued this visit to Northern Ireland to discuss with our suppliers and potential suppliers how we can continue to expand our partnership here, bringing economic benefits to local areas and global benefits to our customers." he said.

Shep Hill, president of Boeing International and senior vice president of business development and strategy, the son of parents from Northern Ireland, added: "Northern Ireland has made many significant contributions to aerospace for more than a century and we look forward to that proud legacy continuing, including through partnerships with Boeing."

The visit was organised by Invest Northern Ireland and was sparked by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster's meeting with the president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Ray Conner, at Farnborough Air Show earlier this year.

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Huthinson Aerotech has diversified into plane parts from agricultural machinery while Datum Tool design counts Airbus and Bombardier among its customers.

Others who took part in the event included WIS Group, Creative Composites, Lenis Aer, Laser Prototypes, ENBIO and Queen's University.