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Bombardier sells off A220 jet programme stake to Airbus

Wings of jet built in Belfast

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Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline has ordered 50 jets.

Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline has ordered 50 jets.

Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline has ordered 50 jets.

Bombardier has sold off its remaining stake in the Airbus A220 passenger jet programme - the wings of which are made in Belfast.

In 2018, Bombardier sold a majority stake in its C Series narrow-bodied jet programme to Airbus, with Bombardier itself still retaining an interest. The C Series was then renamed the A220.

Almost 700 orders have been made for the jet. The latest being an order of 50 for Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline.

On Thursday it was confirmed the Airbus had acquired a 75% stake in the A220 for $591million. The remaining 25% is held by the Government of Quebec.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson welcomed the developments hailing it a "good day" for the programme and Belfast.

He said: "The vote of confidence by Airbus in taking their initial stake in the A220 has been rewarded, and even today we see further orders as they take sole control of the programme.

"The linkages between Spirit Aerosystems and Airbus present further potential opportunities for the Belfast plant. Some of these have already been pointed to by industry experts, and key to that is the expertise within the Belfast operation and the possibilities for further growth here.

"I will continue to offer any support that I can to assist the company and help ensure the kind of positive and settled future everyone wants to see for the Belfast plant.”

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said the agreement demonstrated the company's "support and commitment to the A220 and Airbus in Canada".

"Furthermore it extends our trustful partnership with the Government of Quebec. This is good news for our customers and employees as well as for the Quebec and Canadian aerospace industry.

"I would like to sincerely thank Bombardier for the strong collaboration during our partnership. We are committed to this fantastic aircraft programme and we are aligned with the Government of Quebec in our ambition to bring long-term visibility to the Quebec and Canadian aerospace industry.”

Bombardier said the sale helped to address its capital re-structuring and exit from commercial aerospace production.

The firm invested more than £4.5bn in the A220's development before ceding control of the programme to Airbus in 2018 as it struggled to sell the single-aisle plane.

But the process of launching the C Series was beset by problems and delays, leading to the decision to sell the programme to Airbus.

It was at the centre of a major trading dispute with Boeing which let to the US government threatening to impose duties of almost 300% on the firm. Boeing had argued state intervention meant Bombardier has an unfair advantage in the market place.

However Bombardier won the case.

Bombardier sold its Belfast operation to US company Spirit AeroSystems last year.

At the end of January 2020, 107 A220 aircraft were flying with seven customers on four continents. In 2019 alone, Airbus delivered 48 A220s, with the further ramp-up to be continued.

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