10/05/2013

Boris To Open Antrim Wrightbus Plant

Boris Johnson plans to open a new Wrightbus plant in Northern Ireland as part of the production of a new fleet of busses for London.

The City's Mayor will open the County Antrim facility, which will produce the chassis for the new double deckers.

Wrightbus will supply 600 vehicles as part of the £200m contract.

The 40-strong staff at the Wrightbus plant will increase to 90 as a result.

The new bus is described as "the greenest diesel electric hybrid bus in the world," by Transport for London (TfL).

The fleet of 600 buses is expected to reduce CO2 emissions in the Capital by almost 20,000 tonnes a year.

The vehicles are expected to operate for their entire working life; at least 14 years.

Boris Johnson said: "We will ensure these buses more than earn their keep over the next few years.

"By keeping them in harness in the Capital for the entirety of their useful life, we will be extracting every last drop of value out of them.

"Aside from its Hollywood blockbuster good looks, this bus offers an unparalleled passenger experience and is helping to improve the Capital's air quality."

Tourism and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the news.

She said: "It’s good to see the Mayor of London coming back to Northern Ireland to meet the staff at Wrightbus, who are producing what is set to become an iconic London bus.

"The Transport for London order for 600 new buses has been hugely important. Not only has it secured and created jobs, it once again puts Northern Ireland manufacturing firmly on the global stage. Boris Johnson has described the new buses as a "world class piece of technology" and, naturally, I agree with him.

"I recently announced that, with support from Invest Northern Ireland, Wrightbus Ltd is investing almost £15m in research and development (R&D) and staff training. I have no doubt that the company’s continued focus on innovation will further bolster its position as a significant player in key national and international markets."

(IT/CD)

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