Bombardier sealed a new deal with Latvian carrier airBaltic to provide 60 Belfast-made C-Series aeroplanes. The deal is thought to be worth as much as £4.5 billion and Bombardier will produce 30 CS300 passenger jets, with an option for a further 30.
The aerospace firm employs around 4,000 workers in Northern Ireland and it currently has the responsibility for the forward fuselage, engine nacelles, horizontal stabiliser and other components on the Global 5000 and Global 6000 business jets, as well as the composite horizontal stabiliser and other components on the Global 7000. Following the launch of the new planes, the latter will be renamed the Global 7500.
“The rigour and innovation behind our Global 7500 aircraft design and test programme have allowed us to deliver enhanced performance without compromise,” said Stephen McCullough, Bombardier’s vice president of integrated product development for the Global 7500 and Global 8000.
The new Global 5500 and Global 6500 will feature ‘unprecedented levels of innovation and comfort’ and more than 2,000 hours of flight testing has already been carried out together with all the major structural testing. The goal is to have the aircraft entering service towards the end of 2018.
In addition to this successful deal, Bombardier also landed a contract with American Airlines for 30 regional jets, which are part made in Belfast, and are worth a potential £1 billion.
In January, Bombardier’s Northern Ireland workforce breathed reportedly a sigh of relief when the US International Trade Commission last month ruled in its favour after a challenge by American rival Boeing. The firm had been facing a 292% tariff on the sale of its planes to the US.
Bombardier is the world’s leading manufacturer of both planes and trains. Its vast offering of products includes trains, rail equipment and control solutions for all market segments, as well as category-defining business jets and commercial aircraft. Bombardier has a significant presence, a strong track record and an established history in the UK for both its Aerospace and Transportation divisions.