Bombardier secures $2bn private jet order
Some of the world's wealthiest investors could soon be jetting around the globe in planes part-made in Belfast after Bombardier secured its biggest ever business craft order.
The owner of Shorts in east Belfast has won a $2bn order from Berkshire Hathaway firm NetJets for up to 120 of its Global business planes.
NetJets, one of a group of companies owned by investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, pioneered the concept of business people buying shares in private jets which are at their beck and call all year round.
It has grown into the biggest operator of business aircraft in the world, with over 800 planes in its fleet.
Now NetJets has committed to buying at least 50 of Bombardier's Global planes, with an option to buy another 70 which would make the deal worth $6.7bn.
Delivery of the aircraft to their new owners will get started towards the end of next year.
A spokeswoman for Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast said: "This order by NetJets for Bombardier Global business jets is very welcome news, particularly given the extremely challenging market environment in recent years.
"We in Belfast are responsible for the design and manufacture of the forward fuselage, engine nacelles, horizontal stabiliser, and other composite components for the Global 5000 and Global XRS business jets, which form part of this significant order.
"The announcement of this sale is a huge vote of confidence in Bombardier, its employees and the Global aircraft family, and will help to sustain jobs in our Northern Ireland operations."
NetJets president Jordan Hansell said: "We are very impressed with Bombardier's product strategy and vision for the future.
"The Global aircraft family is ideally suited to our owners' needs for range, reliability, interior comfort and operating efficiency.
"These aircraft will be an excellent complement to our existing large cabin capabilities and overall fleet that is unmatched in private aviation."
The firm order is for 30 Global 5000 Vision and Global Express XRS Vision aircraft and 20 of the newly-launched Global 7000 and Global 8000 jets.
With the aerospace industry traditionally lagging behind any global economic recovery, Bombardier has been suffering from a downturn in demand for commercial and business aircraft.
The company has invested over £500m in the advanced composite wing development programme for the CSeries commercial aircraft.