Economy Minister Nigel Dodds today announced an £8 million investment by Bombardier in its new manufacturing facility in west Belfast.
Mr Dodds made the announcement at the Paris Air Show where he viewed the new composite wing components on the Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft on display in the static park.
The investment, at Bombardier’s facility in Dunmurry, enables the production of composite components for the global aerospace sector using a new innovative world-class manufacturing technology known as Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM).
Invest Northern Ireland has offered £1.5 million of support towards the project
Speaking at the Paris Air Show the Minister said: “In today’s highly competitive international aerospace environment, it is essential to continually invest in new technologies and skills to retain a competitive advantage.
“This new facility, supported by Invest NI, is yet another example of Bombardier leading the way in research and development in the aerospace sector. It clearly demonstrates how innovation can be turned into commercial opportunity.
“Bombardier’s investment will enable full exploitation of global market opportunities and add significant value to the aerospace sector in Northern Ireland.
“The manufacturing capability builds upon the company’s existing links with Northern Ireland’s universities, particularly the Composites Research Centre at the University of Ulster. This will help to strengthen Northern Ireland’s knowledge infrastructure.”
The manufacturing facility is the culmination of over five years of strategic research, which has helped reinforce Bombardier’s position as a centre of composites excellence and it is crucial to the company’s current and future aircraft programmes. The transition from the composite technology research stage to full production capability in west Belfast is a significant step forward for the company in achieving the goals it has set for its new aircraft. Aerostructures made from composites offer a number of production, operational, environmental and cost benefits. They are lighter, more durable and contain fewer components than traditional metallic aerostructures.
Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Composites, with their advantages over metal, are playing an increasingly important part in future aircraft design. The new Resin Transfer Moulding facility in Dunmurry enables us to set new standards in composites manufacturing. It also strengthens the strategic importance of the Northern Ireland Bombardier operation and will help towards achieving new standards in the development of aircraft including weight reduction and environmental targets.”
The Minister was attending the Paris Air Show to support a delegation of local aerospace companies which are participating in the event.