Enterprise Minister announces major R&D investment by Bombardier Aerospace

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster today announced support for a £27.7million investment in research and development by Bombardier Aerospace.

The investment will enable Bombardier Aerospace Belfast to develop and manufacture major wing components for the Learjet 85 business aircraft using innovative Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) technology. It represents a further development, adaptation and application of this technology, which is currently being developed for the advanced composite wings for the CSeriesaircraft.

The manufacture of key wing components for the Learjet 85 aircraft will be carried out in Bombardier’s new wing manufacturing and assembly facility, the first phase of which has recently been completed.

Invest Northern Ireland offered £5.1million, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), towards Bombardier’s multi-million pound R&D project.

Arlene Foster commented: “This is another significant investment for Bombardier’s Northern Ireland operations and demonstrates the confidence placed in our local aerospace sector.

“As the company focuses heavily on developing its composites capability, the involvement of the Belfast site in the Learjet 85 and CSeries aircraft programmes will further secure its position as a technology leader for composite wing manufacture.

“Invest NI is committed to growing the aerospace sector which is a vitally important part of the manufacturing economy in Northern Ireland. Bombardier’s presence is a major force in the local economy and this investment will help to underpin the future of the aerospace sector here.”

Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast commented: “This investment will enable us to further enhance our position as a Centre of Excellence in Northern Ireland for composites technology. Our new Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) process, used to manufacture components for the Learjet 85 aircraft programme, offers significant cost savings.

“The investment in this significant R&D work , and subsequent manufacture of Learjet 85 aircraft wing structures, present a further opportunity for us to expand our capabilities in this RTI advanced composite process and build on our competitive advantage in the global aerospace sector.

“With increasing challenges, particularly from emerging and fast-growing markets, we hope this project will boost our position and ability to leverage involvement in future projects involving advanced composite structures.”