Direct Canada to Northern Ireland flights would be major boost: commissioner
A direct flight between Canada and Northern Ireland would be a huge business boost, according to the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK.
London-based Gordon Campbell was in the region this week as part of the investment working to promote stronger trade ties between Northern Ireland and Canada.
This year, exports from Northern Ireland to Canada could surpass £300m, most of which are aircraft parts produced by the Bombardier Aerospace facility in Belfast. There are an estimated 12 Canadian companies with investments in the region, with Bombardier the largest.
And another Canadian aerospace giant, Magellan, bought over Greyabbey engineering company John Huddleston Engineering just over a year ago.
Of its £40m ($25m) annual turnover, Magellan accounts for around £5.7m ($3.6m) worth of sales each year.
Toronto-based gold and silver mining firm Dalradian Resources also has interests in Northern Ireland. This year the firm began detailed engineering studies in Tyrone and Londonderry.
Commissioner Campbell said that more aerospace, mining, energy and ICT firms could also be casting a keen eye on Northern Ireland.
"Having a big firm like Bombardier making large investments is a testament to the workforce of Northern Ireland and will make other companies sit up and take notice," he said.
"The benefits to the supply chain and the multiplier effect are obvious. You have good universities and skilled engineers. But there is something in the region of £300m going to Canada from Northern Ireland when more companies need to be doing things the other way around.
"A direct flight will certainly help tourism and business but we have to put Northern Ireland on the global map.
"When people come to Northern Ireland, they will tell other people and more people will visit."