16/10/2008

Prince Andrew Begins Flying Visit At Aircraft Factory

Just weeks after a visit by his sister, Princess Anne, the Duke of York has this afternoon begun a visit of Belfast, beginning with a tour of Bombardier Aerospace, (Shorts).

Prince Andrew toured the prestigious aircraft engineering company, which has just celebrated 100 years of aircraft design - a celebration that included an aerial display by the Red Arrows earlier this month. The visit continued with an overview of the factory's production lines including the Q400 turboprop and CRJ1000 commercial aircraft, as well as the Learjet, Challenger and Global business jets.

His Royal Highness (pictured in the fuselage of a Global Express XRS business jet with Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager) also met workers on the factory floor, and was greeted by the local MP and First Minister Peter Robinson as well as the NI Minister for Enterprise, Arlene Foster.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster at lunchtime, Mr Robinson said it was always a "delight" for Belfast and Northern Ireland to have a royal visit.
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"For Bombardier, it's particularly important that they have a member of the Royal family who has consistently shown an interest in aviation.

"I think he will be very impressed by what he sees here at this company," he said.

Prince Andrew is a pilot himself, having flown extensively while on a tour of duty with the Royal Navy during the Falklands conflict.

Prince Andrew's ship, HMS Invincible was one of two operational aircraft carriers available to the Royal Navy, and as such was to play a major role in the Royal Navy taskforce being assembled to sail south to retake the islands from Argentine forces.

Currently the Duke of York works for the Department of Trade and Industry as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

The Princess Royal was in Northern Ireland in September on a two-day visit to undertake a series of official engagements.

See: Red Arrows Swoop On Centenary

See: Princess Anne arrives in province for two-day visit

(BMcC)

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