12/03/2009

German Airline Deal Takes Off For Bombardier

A local aircraft manufacturer is flying high today with news of a major international contract - which is also boosting jobs.

NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has welcomed Bombardier's announcement that Deutsche Lufthansa is to purchase up to 60 of its all-new CSeries aircraft (pictured in Swiss Air livery) - landing hundreds of jobs for Northern Ireland.

The news follows last year's Bombardier investment of around a half-billion pounds in Northern Ireland on the CSeries programme.

The Minister said: "The Lufthansa Group has signed a firm purchase agreement for 30 of Bombardier's CSeries aircraft. The agreement also includes options on purchasing an additional 30 at a later date.

"This is very welcome news for Northern Ireland, as last July, following intensive work by local Ministers and Invest NI, Bombardier Belfast was selected to design, develop and manufacture the wings for the CSeries. This contract will sustain over 800 jobs here."

Minister Foster believes the CSeries project can provide a boost to the local economy and enhance an already strong international reputation in the aviation sector.

"The CSeries is good news for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole, as it brings with it significant opportunities to those local companies providing goods and services within the supply chain.
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"Bombardier has developed expertise in advanced design and innovative composite materials at its Northern Ireland sites and the work on the CSeries aircraft can only serve to further enhance Northern Ireland's world-wide reputation for excellence in aviation design and manufacturing."

A spokeswoman for the east Belfast enginnering company said this CSeries announcement is good news for employment in Northern Ireland where the development and production of the advanced composite wings is taking place.

"We currently have around 300 engineers involved in considerable research and development of the high technology wings.

"Some 800 jobs will be generated when the programme is at full production.

"The research and development as well as the manufacture of the advanced composite wings will take Belfast's considerable experience and capabilities in advanced composites to a new level.

"It will also be an ideal fit with the UK's wider strategic interests in aircraft wing technology," she said.

The deal has also been welcomed by the local DUP MLA for the area, Robin Newton.

The Deputy Chair of the Assembly Employment and Learning Committee and member of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee said: "This is very welcome news that will boost the confidence of the company the employees and the wider Northern Ireland business community in these current economic difficult circumstances."

(BMcC/JM)

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