US firm announces order for 50 Airbus jets, partly made in Belfast

Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for 100 Airbus aircraft, including 50 A220-300s, the wings of which are made in Belfast

A US aircraft leasing firm has placed an order for 50 Airbus jets, the wings of which are made in Belfast.

Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for 100 Airbus aircraft, including 50 A220-300s.

Previously known as the Bombardier C Series, before Airbus acquired a majority stake in the Canadian planemaker, around 1,000 staff in Belfast work on the A220 project.

The latest order, which also includes 27 A321XLRs and 23 A321neos, brings the total number of Airbus aircraft purchased by ALC to 387, but this is the first time A220s have been part of any deal.

The A220, described as the only aircraft purpose built for the 100-150 seat market, had an order of 536 aircraft at the end of the last month.

It was also confirmed yesterday that Delta Air Lines has ordered five additional A220-100 aircraft.

That brings the total number of orders placed by the airline to 95, including both the A220-100s and A220-300s. 

Airbus is confident the A220 can win a large proportion of the 100-150 seat market, estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

The positive order news comes just over a month after Bombardier announced it is to put its entire Northern Ireland operation up for sale as part of a major re-organisation of the business.

Bombardier has said the move will “consolidate its aerospace assets into a single, streamlined, and fully integrated aviation business unit”.

The Canadian aerospace giant has had a local footprint since 1989 when it bought the old Shorts business, and it is Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturing employer, producing around 10 per cent of the region’s total manufacturing exports and pumping an estimated £150 million a year in wages into the economy, as well as sustaining around 10,000 jobs through its extensive supply chain.

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