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Bombardier 'turns corner' as jet orders starting to take off

Bombardier Aerospace has "turned the corner" with a pick-up in business jet orders in the fourth quarter of last year, according to its parent firm's latest results.

The owner of Shorts, which employs 5,120 people in east Belfast, said revenues for the year to January 31 were $8.6bn (£5.3bn), compared to $9.4bn (£5.8bn) the year earlier.

Earnings before interests, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $247m (£153m) for the fourth quarter and $732m (£454m) for the fiscal year 2011.

Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief executive officer of Bombardier, said: "This past year has been challenging yet positive. In aerospace, we seem to have turned the corner with orders picking up substantially in the fourth quarter.

"To further strengthen our product leadership position, we continued to make progress on the development of new products within our business and commercial aircraft segments, both of which have healthy long-term growth prospects."

Just over 140 business aircraft were delivered, compared to 176 aircraft last year.

Its business aircraft division had a market share of 32% based on revenues and 28% based on unit deliveries for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2011.

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The commercial aircraft division delivered 97 units in the fiscal year 2011, compared to 121 in the previous year.

This year's orders included nine CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft, which entered into service in the fourth quarter with Air Nostrum and Brit Air.

Last month it received a firm order from NetJets for at least 50 business jets in a deal worth $2.8bn (£1.7bn), which could go up to $6.7bn (£4.1bn) if an option to buy another 50 is exercised.

Belfast workers will work on the design and manufacture of components for the jets.