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UK aerospace body opens new office at Bombardier

A UK aerospace, defence and security trade organisation is opening an office in Northern Ireland.

ADS said its office, which is supported by Invest NI, would enable global and indigenous aerospace, defence and security companies to collaborate and fulfil their potential.

Plans for the office - which will be located in the premises of Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast - were unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow yesterday.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, said ADS would give companies access to valuable resources which could improve their capabilities, open up supply chain opportunities and help them grow their exports.

Mr Hamilton said the goals of ADS fitted Invest NI's strategy of encouraging growth in the sector.

The ADS team will be led by Ian Watson, director of ADS in Northern Ireland and Scotland, and chaired by David Beatty, managing director of defence company Thales in Belfast.

Dr Leslie Orr will manage the new office. He and Mr Watson will tour aerospace firms in Northern Ireland next week.

Ian Godden, chairman of ADS, said aerospace and defence contributes £60bn to the UK economy every year.

"The underlying reason for this strength is the diversity of its supply chain from the largest to the smallest companies, and Northern Ireland is a perfect illustration of this." He added: "There are a great number of opportunities for businesses to enter the supply chain in Northern Ireland as well as for businesses based there who wish to access ADS services to boost their own exposure to UK and international trading opportunities."

An ADS spokesman said the office would have no job creation targets but would instead focus on "bringing the sector together".

Meanwhile, Bombardier Aerospace, which employs 5,000 people in Belfast, announced contracts worth $580m at the airshow yesterday.

"We very much welcome these latest orders in what is still an extremely challenging market environment," a spokeswoman for Bombardier said yesterday.

The Belfast premises will manufacture components for the Challenger 605, the Global 5000 and Global Express XRS business jets - although the orders will have no impact on staffing levels, Bombardier bosses confirmed.

The company said it had received firm orders from Qatar Airways in March for two Global 5000 aircraft, which are valued at approximately $90m.

It said VistaJet of Switzerland had placed an order for four Global Express XRS aircraft and two Challenger 605 jets in an order worth around $277m.

And the company said "undisclosed" customers in Russia had ordered four Global Express XRS jets in orders worth approximately $213m.