Bombardier NI operations sold to Spirit AeroSystems

Bombardier’s Northern Ireland operations have been sold to the US firm Spirit AeroSystems.

The Canadian firm put the factories up for sale in May as part of a reorganisation of its business.

The aerospace manufacturer employs about 3,600 people in Northern Ireland.

Spirit, which is based in Wichita, Kansas, is a major supplier to Airbus and Boeing. Earlier this year Spirit’s chief executive said the firm wanted to do more work for Airbus.

Buying Bombardier’s Northern Ireland operation is part of that strategy.

The wings for the Airbus A220 are made at Bombardier Belfast’s plant and it also supplies other Airbus parts, particularly engine covers.

Spirit is also buying a Bombardier factory is Morocco and a repair facility in the US.

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Media captionThe history of Bombardier in Northern Ireland

A bigger position in the supply chain?

Bombardier has been selling off its commercial aerospace assets to focus on trains and business jets: This is the final part of that.

Spirit was originally set up as a spin-out of aerospace company Boeing.

Boeing is still its biggest customer but part of Spirit’s strategic plan is to lessen its dependence on Boeing.

Earlier this year, Spirit said it wanted to supply more to Airbus, increase its fabrication facilities and to get more military work.

Now that a deal has been done with Bombardier, it ticks two of those boxes and gives them a much bigger position in the Airbus supply chain.

Bombardier, which is based in Montreal, has more than 68,000 employees in 28 countries.

It employs about 3,600 people across several locations in Northern Ireland – east Belfast, Newtownabbey, Dunmurry and Newtownards.

The Belfast factory builds wings for Airbus and is the largest hi-tech manufacturer in Northern Ireland.