Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier expects new C Series deal to be announced 'soon'

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier has landed a £185m deal for aircraft part-built in Belfast and could secure further deals for its flagship C Series planes.

The Canadian company, which employs around 4,500 staff in Northern Ireland, revealed Philippine Airlines is buying another seven of its Q400 turbo-prop planes.

Meanwhile, Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, has confirmed it is in talks with Bombardier over taking its C Series jets on for its new Indian airline.

It comes as Bombardier's Fred Cromer, president of commercial aircraft for the firm, said it's expecting to announce a further significant C Series deal before the end of the year.

"The reputation of the airplane is starting to build among our industry," he told Bloomberg at the Paris Air Show.

"Internally we see it, because the conversations that we are having are accelerating in all regions around the world."

He said that a new deal was due "soon".

"I would say more activity by the end of this year," he said.

Mr Cromer said the company was also ramping up production of the planes to around 120 units by 2020.

Bombardier's Belfast staff, among other work, produce the wings and parts of the fuselage for its C Series passenger planes.

Speaking about the new deal with Philippine Airlines, Mr Cromer said: "We are delighted that Philippine Airlines is growing its fleet with more Q400 aircraft, and are confident that the airline will benefit from the aircraft's outstanding economics and performance."

Jaime J Bautista, president of Philippine Airlines, said: "As we position ourselves for growth, we are pleased to be adding more Q400 to our fleet."

Just last week it was revealed Bombardier's boss in Northern Ireland is being "given a seat at the top table" after being promoted, as the company says it is still facing "significant challenges" following a newly agreed pay deal for Northern Ireland workers.

Michael Ryan was promoted to a new role as president of aerostructures and engineering services.

It is understood he will continue working in Belfast and lead the team here.

Meanwhile, staff here have accepted a 2% increase in wages, after unions balloted members on a pay deal.

It comes after Bombardier slashed more than 1,000 jobs here over the past year.

Orders for the C Series planes were lower than expected. As a result, Bombardier received a $1bn bailout from the regional Quebec government in Canada.

It's landed two major orders for the planes. That includes one with Air Canada for up to 75 of the C Series passenger jets, while US airline Delta is also ordering up to 125.

Belfast Telegraph