Changes to engines mean Bombardier is faced with possible delay in delivery
The sale of Bombardier's C Series passenger planes could be delayed this year as the company says it is "reviewing delivery plans" over changes to its engines.
The Canadian-owned aerospace giant, which employs more than 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland, produces the wings and part of the C Series fuselage in Belfast.
It now says that in light of the recent update from United Technologies, which produces its Pratt and Whitney jet engines, that "Bombardier is currently reviewing its delivery plans for 2017".
It added: "Bombardier is working closely with Pratt and Whitney to evaluate and mitigate any potential impact on its customers and will provide a full update on November 2, when it issues its quarter three results."
Bombardier had been expecting to deliver 30 of its C Series planes this year, but has so far delivered just 12. Airbus is now taking a majority stake in the Canadian company's C Series aircraft.
Thousands of Northern Ireland jobs looked to be at risk after a complaint from rival Boeing resulted in the US administration imposing a provisional 300% tariff on each of the aircraft sold there, potentially scuppering a multi-billion pound deal with Delta Air Lines for up to 125 jets. The tie-up with Airbus is an attempt to avoid the tariffs, and get around paying the hugely damaging duties.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would continue to fight against a decision to impose the tariffs.
This week, two top academics said the strategy, which would involve the final assembly of the planes at an Airbus facility in Alabama, would likely succeed in avoiding the tariffs. But Boeing has claimed Bombardier's C Series planes could still be hit with an import levy despite the deal.
Boeing general counsel Michael Luttig said: "Any duties finally levied against the C Series ... will have to be paid on any imported C Series airplane or part, or it will not be permitted into the country."
Last week, the boss of Airbus said the firm expects to sell "thousands" of C Series planes.
However, Airbus boss Tom Enders said the French firm did not plan to buy out the rest of Bombardier, or the Quebec regional government's stake in the passenger plane scheme.
An initial 220% tariff was imposed on sales of the C Series by the US Department of Commerce. A later ruling increased the levy to 300%.