Bombardier targets China in effort to increase sales
Bombardier is eyeing up the Chinese market in a bid to increase sales of its passenger jets, which are part-built in Belfast.
The Canadian-owned aerospace giant's chief executive Alain Bellemare admitted to Reuters: "I would say the focus (on China) has to increase.
"Clearly, this is a target market for us."
Bombardier landed its biggest single order for its new C Series jets earlier this month.
The firm secured a deal to sell 75 of its CS100 jets to Delta Airlines, with the potential for a further 50 orders.
It's thought the almost £4bn deal could be worth around £400m to the aerospace giant's Belfast workforce alone.
Bombardier employs around 5,000 staff here.
And it has grown its team working on the C Series. It was originally producing just the wings for both the CS100 and CS300 jets. But it has grown to building fuselages for the planes.
Bombardier said the deal was a "watershed moment". Belfast boss Michael Ryan said it was "a further endorsement of the aircraft's excellent operating economics and environmental credentials, to which we in Belfast are contributing with the production of the advanced composite wings".
In February the company announced it was shedding 1,080 jobs in Northern Ireland over the next two years.
Manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly said the deal was another "sign of confidence in the company" and highlighted the "ingenuity" of the workers in Northern Ireland.
Last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the workforce here had made between 15 and 20 fuselage mid-sections for the aircraft after work was transferred here from the company's manufacturing partner in China.