Mixed fortune for aircraft firms as Bombardier announces job losses in Belfast

Mixed fortune for aircraft firms as Bombardier announces job losses in Belfast

Bombardier is to cut at least 220 jobs from its North of Ireland operation due to a fall in demand for its business jets.

The Canadian aerospace firm has confirmed that 280 workers in Belfast will be affected, although it hopes to save 60 of those jobs by moving employees to other programmes and projects.

Having bought the Belfast aircraft manufacturer Shorts in 1989, Bombardier is currently the largest manufacturing concern in the North and one of the biggest employers in the region.

Eric Martel, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said this week: "We have seen an industry-wide softness in demand recently in certain international markets and are taking steps to adjust our production accordingly.

"We fully understand the impact this will have on our affected employees and their families and we will do everything possible to support them," he added.

This is the latest in series of cuts at Bombardier's Belfast operations - where 130 job losses were announced in February, on top of almost 400 in 2014.

Bombardier’s job cuts are in stark contrast to two other giants in aircraft manufacture - Boeing and Airbus, who both recorded record sales in April 2015.

Ryanair has helped boost Boeing’s fortunes already this year, by purchasing another three Boeing 737-800s in March, bringing its total fleet of Boeing 737s up to 310.

Michael O’Leary has always favoured the US company over its European rivals Airbus.

He showed his commitment to the company, and in air travel itself, in the wake of 9/11 by travelling to Boeing’s headquarters in Seattle and negotiating a significant deal.

In all, the airline ordered 155 new 737-800 aircraft in 2001, at what was believed to be a substantial discount.

Meanwhile Airbus — which is favoured by Aer Lingus - has had a record April, citing "key orders and deliveries" which "provided an additional boost for Airbus’ 2015 year-to-date activity", although the Irish national carrier did not add to its fleet.