Bombardier boosted by £180m investment

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The Independent Online

Up to £180m will be invested in an aerospace firm to help create more than 3,000 jobs, the Government said yesterday.

Up to £180m will be invested in an aerospace firm to help create more than 3,000 jobs, the Government said yesterday.

The money will help the Bombardier Aerospace plant in Belfast, the site of the former Shorts factory, to be chosen as a supplier to a new family of airliners being built by its parent firm, ministers said.

Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said government backing for the programme was a "tangible demonstration" of its commitment to the UK aerospace industry.

The money will involve £150m in launch investment and £30m of selective financial assistance, and will generate up to 3,200 jobs. It will be subject to European Union approval and a formal decision by Bombardier to launch the programme.

The investment will allow the Belfast plant to be selected as a key supplier to the new 110 to 130-seat series of airliners, the Government said, and is expected to generate 1,700 direct jobs and more than 1,500 in the supply chain.

Mr Johnson said: "Government backing for this programme, which marks a new era for Bombardier, is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to ensuring that aerospace companies operating in the UK remain at the forefront of the industry.

"It will see the return of aircraft-wing production to Bombardier after an absence for many years, adding to the company's strengths and helping to consolidate the UK as a world leader in this field.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, said: "This announcement represents a historic moment for the continued development of the aerospace industry within Northern Ireland.

"It is a real testament to the skills and abilities of the local workforce and will ensure that this region retains its position as a market leader in this important business sector."

Michael Ryan, the general manager of Bombardier in Belfast, said if the new series of aircraft is launched, it would help research and development over the next 15 to 20 years. He said: "That would ensure our Belfast operation remains at the leading edge of aircraft design and manufacture.

"This contribution from the UK Government will help to create or sustain many hundreds of jobs, not just in Northern Ireland but throughout our 800-company supply chain in UK and Ireland."