Airbus orders could bring £100m boost for Belfast wing-makers
Orders for 95 new Airbus A220 aircraft at the Paris Air Show this week could be worth more than £100m for Bombardier's Northern Ireland business where the wings are made.
The new business for the narrow body aircraft at the global aviation event was hailed as a success by Airbus, which acquired a majority stake in Bombardier's jet programme last July.
Despite the Canadian aerospace giant putting its Northern Ireland operation up for sale last month, the bumper new orders for the A220 are expected to guarantee a lengthy pipeline of work in Bombardier's Belfast facilities, where around 1,000 people are employed in connection with the wing programme.
Airbus has put the list price for the A220-100 and the larger A220-300 at £64m and £72m respectively. The price for individual components remains closely guarded within the industry.
But speaking yesterday, one aviation expert told the Belfast Telegraph: "If all of the Paris orders are confirmed, the deal could be worth more than £100m for the Belfast facility."
It's understood that nine other Northern Ireland-based aerospace firms sealed equipment orders at the show.
Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation led the A220 orders in Paris by signing a letter of intent for 50 of the larger and more expensive A220-300 planes on Monday.
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US airline Delta added five more A220-100s to its existing order for 90 jets on Tuesday, while 10 more A220 aircraft were ordered by an as yet unnamed customer. Yesterday, Danish lessor Nordic Aviation Capital and US airline JetBlue completed a bumper week for Airbus, with the former signing a memorandum of understanding for 20 planes.
New York-based low cost airline JetBlue, which already has placed orders for 60 A220 planes, added another 10 A220-300s to its large order.
US-based Spirit Aerosystems, UK group GKN and Airbus itself have all been linked with a potential acquisition of Bombardier's NI aerostructures division, where 3,600 people are employed. The trio have also been linked to Bombardier's Moroccan plant, which was put on the market alongside Belfast.
Japanese industry giant Mitsubishi has also been named as a potential suitor for the entire operation.