Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier boosted by $5bn deal for C Series

By Allan Preston

Weeks ago Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier announced it had to shed nearly 300 jobs in Northern Ireland to stay competitive.

Now, with a potential new $5bn (£3.8bn) contract, many of the 4,000 local workers will be hopeful for their futures.

The deal follows a bitter international trade dispute with American rival Boeing, which would have seen a 300% import duty for sales of Bombardier's C Series jet in the US.

Last month Bombardier announced a tie-in with French firm Airbus, which agreed to produce 50.1% of the C Series in its American plant to avoid the 300% levy.

The aircraft's wings are constructed in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday Bombardier announced a European customer had signed a letter of intent for up to 61 of the planes; including 31 firm aircraft options as well as the option of a further 30.

The initial order has a value of $2.4bn, and $4.8bn if all 61 jets are purchased.

Bombardier's full-year earnings are predicted to be $630m, according to its third-quarter results.

Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive of Bombardier, said this showed the "continued progress transforming the company".

East Belfast DUP MP Gavin Robinson said: "With 31 firm orders and options for a further 30 jets, this could mean an order valued up to $4.8bn for Bombardier if all 61 options are exercised.

"It is a welcome piece of news for the company as a whole, and obviously for the Belfast plant.

"The timing, too, is significant and is a vote of confidence in the joint venture between Bombardier and Airbus.

"I hope this might be the first of many new orders for this ground-breaking aircraft." Although the new contract is a massive boost for Bombardier, only a quarter of Northern Ireland staff are involved in the construction of the C Series wings.

Bombardier has yet to say if the new deal will make a recruitment drive for more workers possible, or will offer protection to its employees in other sections.

Belfast Telegraph

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