Bombardier says expansion of wing programme will sustain 1,000 jobs in Belfast

Bombardier's current site next to Belfast City Airport, with the proposed expansion highlighted in red
Ryan McAleer

BOMBARDIER has revealed details of its multi-million pound plan to expand its wing-making capability in Belfast.

The company has submitted a planning application to Belfast City Council to add another 333,000 sq ft to its 565,000 sq ft facility next to Belfast City Airport. Industry monitor CIS Ireland has valued the expansion project at around £24m.

The Canadian transport group's operation in Northern Ireland is due to transfer to US-based Spirit Aerosystems in early 2020 after the completion of a £1 billion deal announced at the end of October.

Around 3,600 are employed across sites spread across the greater Belfast area.

Bombardier says it has invested £520m in date in its aircraft wing programme, which directly involves 200 suppliers across the UK.

The aerospace company said that the new expansion will sustain around 1,000 jobs at Bombardier in the A220 wing-making programme and up to 2,000 jobs in the supply chain.

European air-framer Airbus acquired a majority stake in the aircraft, previously known as the Bombardier C-series, in July 2018.

Bombardier's workers in Belfast have continued to make the resin-infused composite wings for the planes, which are then assembled in north America.

But with a growing backlog of A220 orders, Airbus has been working towards a significant ramping up of production.

A report produced for Bombardier by the London based design firm ARUP has described “an ambitious ramp-up strategy”.

It states: “Extensions to the existing wing manufacturing and assembly facility are required to provide additional production capacity to meet growing customer demand.

“Construction would be expected to commence on site as soon as possible following the determination of the application.

“The project would facilitate the evolving needs of the company's manufacturing operation and represents a significant investment in aerospace manufacturing in Belfast.”

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