Egyptian order of Bombardier aircraft good news for Belfast

But union leader warns troubled NI operation needs to keeping winning big deals

A Bombardier CSeries aircraft. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/File Photo/Reuters

A Bombardier CSeries aircraft. Photograph: Regis Duvignau/File Photo/Reuters

 

An order worth $1.1 billion for 12 Bombardier C-Series aircraft from Egypt’s national airline is a welcome confidence boost for Bombardier’s workforce in Northern Ireland, but the Canadian aerospace group needs to keeping winning major deals to keep production lines busy in the North, a union leader has warned.

Davy Thompson, Unite’s regional co-ordinating officer for Northern Ireland, said the latest order for 12 CS300 Bombardier aircraft from the EgyptAir Holding Company is a positive signal for Northern Ireland.

EgyptAir has signed a a letter of intent for up to 24 CS300 aircraft which includes12 CS300 aircraft with purchase rights for an additional 12 aircraft. If the Egyptian airline buys all 24 aircraft the value of the contract could soar to nearly $2.2 billion.

But Mr Thompson has also warned that significant issues remain on the horizon for Bombardier’s operations in the North.

Bombardier is in the process of axing 280 jobs at its factories in the North, and the group is still fighting a ruling from the US Commerce Department that could see import duties of 300 per cent imposed on every CSeries aircraft sold in the US.

Mr Thompson said Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft programme currently accounts for 1,000 jobs in the North and every order is welcome.

“But there are 3,000 other people employed in Bombardier that do not work on the CSeries – we need to see orders coming through for the other aircraft that keep these jobs in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Unions are hopeful that the recent Airbus acquisition of a 50.01 per cent stake in the C Series programme will bring more work to the North.

Earlier this week at the Dubai Air Show Fred Cromer, Bombardier’s commercial aircraft chief, said he believes the Airbus deal could “create opportunities” in Belfast.