Belfast Telegraph

Response is positive to sale of aerospace giant

The sale of aerospace giant Bombardier's Belfast operations has been welcomed across Northern Ireland
The sale of aerospace giant Bombardier's Belfast operations has been welcomed across Northern Ireland
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

The sale of aerospace giant Bombardier's Belfast operations has been welcomed across Northern Ireland.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said Bombardier is "absolutely integral" to the region and the deal highlights the upturn in orders since the firm's partnership with Airbus.

"There have been many uncertain times for staff in Belfast, since the complaint was brought by Boeing and more recently with the announcement of the sale," he said.

"What has always shone through throughout that time, however, has been the quality of the workforce and the high-quality, specialised product that is made in Belfast."

The new buyers, Spirit AeroSystems, have worked with Bombardier on their Airbus A220 aircraft - back when it was known as the C Series - since 2009. Spirit designs and builds the pylon for the A220.

Mr Robinson said Spirit is a "major company" with a "desire to grow its business".

Alliance MLA for East Belfast Chris Lyttle also welcomed the news. He said: "The announcement that Bombardier's operations have been sold to the US firm Spirit AeroSystems is good news, as it should provide job security for the 3,600 staff currently employed.

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"Spirit AeroSystems is already a major manufacturer to the aircraft sector and Bombardier will be a perfect fit for their future strategic direction.

"The skills and commitment to quality demonstrated by Bombardier staff is widely known and obviously have been recognised by Spirit AeroSystems."

Alan Malcolm, senior steward with the trade union GMB, said Bombardier's Belfast workers now have cause for hope.

"GMB cautiously welcomes this sale, but is eager to speak to Spirit AeroSystems management as soon as possible to get assurances on jobs, terms and conditions and pensions," he said.

"We need reassurances on their intentions for the future of Belfast operations, and exploring opportunities to bring in new manufacturing, assembly and engineering work."

Susan Fitzgerald, regional coordinating officer with the trade union Unite, said it is "no surprise" Bombardier has been able to find a buyer for its Northern Ireland operations.

"These workers and the skills base they possess are world class and offer any prospective owner a huge platform for future growth," she said.

CBI Northern Ireland director Angela McGowan said: "As Belfast's largest manufacturing company and world-class aerospace operation, this announcement will be positive news for its workforce and local communities.

"Spirit's commitment to growing Bombardier's Belfast-based business over the long-term and supporting the Northern Irish economy is warmly welcomed."

Belfast Telegraph

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