Bombardier 'showing the right leadership' in tariffs spat says Belfast-born VP

Bombardier's Bill Molloy (second left) pictured at the IoD lunch with (from left) David Beatty (representing sponsor Rainbow Communications), Kirsty McManus (IoD NI national director), Suzanne Wylie (Belfast City Council chief executive) and BBC broadcaster Mark Carruthers
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A SENIOR vice-president at Bombardier said yesterday that the company "is showing showing the right kind of leadership" in its ongoing dispute with Boeing over tariffs on the CSeries jets being built for Delta in the US and which is threatening thousands of jobs in Belfast.

And while he expects the Canadian aerospace firm to "take some hurt" from the International Trade Commission, he insisted: "This is not the end of the matter by any stretch of the imagination."

West Belfast-born Bill Molloy, vice-president of after-market sales and commercial strategy for Bombardier Business Aircraft, who since moving to Canada from Belfast in 2001 has distinguished himself in a number of leadership positions within the organisation, was addressing the Institute of Directors' regional lunch in the Titanic Belfast Hotel, a stone's throw from where he started his career on Queen's Island.

Boeing, the chief US competitor to Bombardier, has challenged the sale of 75 of the CSeries aircraft to Delta Airways, claiming the planes are being sold at “absurdly low prices”, which could only be achieved thanks to subsidies from the Canadian and British governments.

In an ongoing legal dispute, a whopping 300 per cent tariff has since been slapped on the aircraft, making the Delta sale effectively unviable.

And that potentially puts in jeopardy around 1,000 of Bombardier's 5,000 employees in Belfast who work directly making the CSeries wings, and another 20,000 in Northern Ireland who benefit from the supply chain.

But Mr Molloy, in response to a question from the Irish News, claims Bombardier is fighting on all fronts and at the highest realms of its management to ensure a satisfactory solution to the vitriolic spat.

"The facts are that the decision on the CSeries needs to be upheld by the International Trade Commission and show some hurt to Bombardier, but this is not the end by any stretch of the imagination.

"Bombardier is showing the right leadership, and the company remains unerring in its commitment to Belfast, where not so long ago it invested more than £500 million to give the facility the wing-making facility.

"Now that Airbus has come on board (as a majority shareholder in the CSeries project), let's just see how things pan out," he said.

More than 250 business leaders and guests representing companies from many sectors attended the Rainbow Communications-sponsored IoD event which had taken the theme Leaders on Leadership.

Molloy and Belfast City Council chief executive Suzanne Wylie shared the lessons gained through their careers that had informed their leadership.

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