New order delivers boost for Bombardier in Belfast

Delta Air Lines buying aircraft partly-made in North

Bombardier is in the midst of implementing large-scale job cuts in Belfast.

Bombardier is in the midst of implementing large-scale job cuts in Belfast.

 

Bombardier Aerospace’s workforce in the North received a boost on Thursday with a significant new order worth $5.6 billion (€4.9bn) from Delta Air Lines for 75 of its C-Series aircraft.

Bombardier’s Belfast facility developed, designed and manufactures the aircraft wings for the C-Series.

The Canadian aerospace giant is in the process of implementing a major redundancy programme in the North which could result in 630 job losses this year and a further 500 next year.

The Delta Air Lines order has been described as “significant” by Bombardier’s vice president and general manager in Belfast, Michael Ryan,

Mr Ryan said: “This is a further endorsement of the aircraft’s excellent operating economics and environmental credentials, to which we in Belfast are contributing with the production of the advanced composite wings.

The order has also been heralded by industry analysts as a lifeline for Montreal-headquartered Bombardier, which has been battling both costly delays and budget over-runs, currently estimated at $2 billion, on the C-Series aircraft programme.

‘Global downsizing’

Two months ago the Canadian group announced “global downsizing” plans which will lead to 7,000 job cuts world-wide.

Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive of Bombardier, described the Delta order as a “strong endorsement”.

“The addition of Delta to our marquee C Series customer list gives us tremendous momentum as we approach entry-into-service this summer,” Mr Bellemare said.

Bombardier also said that the C Series aircraft programme was ramping up towards full production which will boost production levels of the all-composite wings for the CS100 and CS300 aircraft at its Belfast facility.

The group today also reported larger than expected losses for the first quarter of the year - with losses for the three months to March totalling $138 million.

Bombardier outlined in its latest financial update that it “used about $200 million in free cash flow on the C Series program in the quarter”.

It has said that it plans to “achieve a break-even free cash flow for the C Series programme by 2020”.