Bombardier's Belfast Plant Sold To US Firm

Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier's Northern Irish operations had been sold to US firm Spirit Aerosystems.

The Canadian company, with a plant in Belfast that employs over 3,500 people, will be taken over by the US company.

It comes amid a period of reorganisation of the firm to focus on aircrafts and trains.

Components manufacturer Spirit is based in Kansas and supplies Boeing and Airbus plane manufacturers. The wings of the Airbus A220 are made at Bombardier's east Belfast plant.

Unite the union has welcomed the sale but called for investment to facilitate further growth of the local operation.

General Secretary Steve Turner said: "Today's deal will see Bombardier's footprint here transfer as a whole to one of the world's largest independent producers of aero-structures.

"We are pleased that Bombardier has heeded our call to be a responsible seller and the need for Bombardier aero-structures production to be transferred as a whole to a company with an excellent track record in aerospace rather than a short-termist hedge fund. It is a sale that offers hope for a positive future for Bombardier workers in Northern Ireland and their colleagues in the supply chain.

"I have written to Spirit's chief executive officer Tom Gentile and look forward to meeting him in the weeks ahead to discuss future investment and plans for growth and jobs."

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite regional coordinating officer said the sale comes as no surprise due to Bombardier's highly skilled workforce. "These workers and the skills base they possess are world class and offer any prospective owner a huge platform for future growth," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"Unite welcomes this announcement and hopes that it will be followed up by investment for growth in the future. Such investment would be good news for the workers and would secure a future at the forefront of the aerospace manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland.

"Our next order of business is to meet with Spirit to ensure that our members' interests are kept to the forefront in this change of ownership."

It's understood the deal is worth nearly £1 billion and will be completed early next year.

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