Belfast Telegraph

Plane seat firm in £5m jobs boost

A Northern Ireland firm that designs aeroplane seats is to invest £5.2 million, creating 49 highly-skilled jobs.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the plans unveiled by Kilkeel-based Thompson Aero Seating would boost the wider aerospace sector.

The company develops aircraft seating designs for major airlines and has already secured £1.6 million in engineering contracts.

The owners said they believed they had the potential to generate at least a further £23 million in sales outside Northern Ireland.

The Minister said: "This is a significant investment from Thompson Aero Seating.

"The products designed are highly innovative and have the potential to revolutionise the global civil aircraft seating market, generating over 34 million dollars (£22.59 million) in export sales.

"By commercialising the seating, which also benefits from having a design protected by patent, the company will not just enhance its market position and create employment, but bolster the credibility and reputation of Northern Ireland's aerospace sector as a whole."

Invest NI has offered £875,000 of support for the investment to help Thompson Aero Seating prepare its new seating concepts for export markets.

The support will also help the firm increase staffing levels and establish a product assembly operation.

James Thompson, of Thompson Aero Seating, said: "We have worked hard to research and develop a new level of passenger comfort and design in aircraft seating, and this investment will enhance our production capability and ensure that we not only attract and secure orders from the world's major airlines, but can fulfil them much faster."