6 MAY 2019
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The future of the Bombardier Belfast plant was under intense scrutiny yesterday after the company’s Canadian parent last week said it was selling off its operations in Northern Ireland to focus its aviation business in Montreal, Mexico and Texas.
The Irish Times said suitors for the Belfast operation include a Chinese aviation group which already owns a Northern Ireland manufacturing company, while Boeing and Airbus were also mentioned as potential buyers.
The Airbus speculation is ironic as the unsurprising Bombardier decision to divest the former Short Brothers and Harland plant follows the mismanaged C Series programme which was gifted to the European manufacturer. Airbus now has a healthy order book for the renamed A220.
The Times report said the Aviation Industry Corporation China (AVIC) was seen as a “credible contender” for the plant. AVIC acquired Portadown-headquartered Thompson Aero Seating three years ago and has an existing business relationship with Bombardier.
The Bombardier announcement said it was consolidating its aerospace assets into a “single, streamlined, and fully-integrated business unit”, Bombardier Aviation, under David Coleal, former head of the company’s business aircraft division since 2015.
In a follow-up message to staff, Bombardier Belfast said it was “committed to finding the right buyer – one that will operate responsibly and help us achieve our full growth potential”.
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