Belfast Telegraph

Brighter forecast for Bombardier in wake of £320m deal for jets

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier has landed a huge deal worth £320m for 10 of its jets which are part-made in Belfast.

Bombardier Belfast designs and manufactures the fuselage of the jets.

The Canadian-owned aerospace giant has said the customer, who has "requested to remain unidentified at this time, has signed a firm purchase agreement for 10 CRJ900 aircraft".

Based on the list price of the aircraft, the deal is valued at around $472m (£320m).

Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said: "The modern and fuel-efficient CRJ900 aircraft continues to maintain its solid footing and set industry benchmarks with its lower operating costs, outstanding operational flexibility and enhanced cabin amenities.

"These are key drivers for the growth, profitability and success of airlines around the world and we are delighted that the CRJ900 aircraft is creating excellent value for a wide variety of operators with diverse business requirements."

It's the latest sizeable order for Bombardier. Earlier this month, during the Iata (International Air Transport Association) AGM in Dublin, it was revealed existing customer WestJet is buying another nine of its Q400 propellers in a $300m (£207m) deal.

And just last week, Bombardier won the required regulatory approval from the US and European aviation authorities for its CS100 passenger jets.

The C Series planes, part-made in Belfast, are scheduled to have their first commercial flight next month. Bombardier, which employs more than 5,000 staff here, secured a deal in April to sell 75 of the CS100 jets to Delta Airlines, with the potential for a further 50 orders.

Yet it revealed in February it was cutting 1,080 jobs in Belfast over the next two years. However, IAG boss Willie Walsh told the Belfast Telegraph he was having discussions with Bombardier boss Alain Bellemere about buying a number of the planes.

Bombardier's former chief executive in Northern Ireland, Sir Roy McNulty, said the "worst is over" for the firm, and it will weather the storm of job cuts and financial losses. The east Belfast company, known as Short Brothers plc, had a pre-tax loss of $339m (£235.6m), which it said this morning had wiped out profits made over the last 10 years.

Belfast Telegraph