Barry Gardiner MP, NIO Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, today welcomed a £33.5 million investment by Bombardier in two aircraft programmes at its Northern Ireland plants.
The Minister also announced that government is supporting the two projects at Bombardier Aerospace in Northern Ireland, which is now providing substantial components for new aircraft being developed from the existing and successful Bombardier Learjet 45 and Bombardier Global Express business jet programmes.
The new aircraft are the Bombardier Learjet 40, a six to seven seat light business jet, and the 12-19 seat long range Bombardier Global 5000 business jet. The fuselage for the Learjet 40 and the forward fuselage, horizontal stabiliser, wing-to–fuselage fairing and other advanced composite components for the Global 5000, are being designed and manufactured in Northern Ireland. Work is already underway in Belfast on both programmes.
Invest NI has offered £8.8million in financial assistance to Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, towards the investment costs of the projects.
Mr Gardiner said: “This investment will help ensure that Bombardier’s Belfast company remains a globally competitive centre of excellence for the design and manufacture of major aircraft components within the Canadian-owned aerospace group. These programmes are immensely important, not only for Bombardier in Northern Ireland, but also for the wider economy. In terms of salaries and wages alone, Bombardier provides £135 million per year into the local economy from its employees.
“Bombardier is also very important to the wider engineering industry in Northern Ireland. These new work programmes are helping to ensure that Northern Ireland maintains its position as an important aero-engineering centre, and is an expression of confidence by Bombardier of Northern Ireland as a good location for design and advanced manufacturing.
“For Bombardier, the work means that the company in Northern Ireland will retain full design and manufacturing capability in the development of very substantial and critical aerostructures, including fuselages. Maintaining and enhancing this capability is essential if the Belfast company is to continue to compete successfully in the international marketplace. I hope that everyone at the company grasps the opportunity provided by these projects to secure the company’s position within the group.”
Stressing the importance of both programmes to the company’s future development, Mr. Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, said: “The two projects enable the company to continue to provide an integrated service to Bombardier, from conceptual design through to the manufacture of major components, across a number of areas where we have recognised expertise.
“The work packages also help us to maintain our overall level of design and manufacturing activity and further embed our position within Bombardier as the preferred supplier of these components. They further increase the amount of business being done with the Bombardier Aerospace group and our investment in Northern Ireland. We are now involved in 11 of Bombardier’s 14 aircraft programmes and Bombardier has invested more than £1 billion in Northern Ireland in new product development, new facilities and training in the past 14 years.
“Bombardier is now engaged in a process of evaluating the competitive position of all its group sites. It is essential, therefore, that we in Belfast continue to strive to enhance our competitiveness through R&D, training, increased productivity, greater engineering capability and tight cost control. We welcome the support of Invest NI in helping us to do this,” he added.
The new projects will also mean business worth around £36.1 million to the company’s network of local suppliers.