Northern Ireland news

Concern for Bombardier workers as jet programme sold

Bombardier employs nearly 4,000 workers at its plant in east Belfast
Cate McCurry, Press Association

There are further concerns about the future of thousands of staff at Northern Ireland's largest manufacturing employer after Bombardier announced plans to sell its regional jet programme.

The Canadian manufacturing giant confirmed today that it plans to sell the programme to Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for $550 million dollars (£328 million).

It comes a month after the plane maker said it is to sell its aerostructures business.

Bombardier employs nearly 4,000 workers at its plant in east Belfast, which produces around 10% of the north's total manufacturing exports.

In the new deal, MHI will acquire the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing and sales activities for the CRJ series aircraft, including the related services and support network located in Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto, Ontario, and its service centres located in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona.

Read More: Concern over sale of Bombardier's Belfast operation

The Belfast plant said it is reviewing the impact.

A spokeswoman said: "Following today's announcement regarding the definitive agreement for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to acquire the Bombardier CRJ programme, we are reviewing what impact this may have on our sites in Northern Ireland and Morocco as suppliers to the programme, and will evaluate opportunities in other programmes to mitigate any potential impact on our workforce."

Alain Bellemare, Bombardier's president and chief executive, said: "We are confident that MHI's acquisition of the programme is the best solution for airline customers, employees and shareholders.

"We are committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition."

The deal is expected to close next year.

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