Biggest ever Bombardier order 'to sustain Belfast jobs'

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Bombardier Aerospace has announced the biggest aircraft order in the company's history which, it says, will sustain jobs at its Belfast base.

2012 Challenger 605 fuselage assembly The order is the biggest in the company's history

The order comes from NetJets - a private aviation specialist controlled by famous investor Warren Buffet.

It is for at least 100 Challenger Jets worth $2bn (£1.3bn) minimum and potentially worth $7bn (£4.5bn).

That makes it the biggest order in Bombardier's history and in the history of private aviation.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the news meant a "significant and welcome boost to the local economy".

"Bombardier's agreement with NetJet is a tremendous endorsement of the technological expertise and capability available in Northern Ireland and signals the continued success of this multinational corporation," she said.

"Invest NI has been working closely with Bombardier and other aerospace companies to support growth and ensure that the sector remains internationally competitive.

"The Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE), which opened earlier this year, will help provide such growth opportunities and help to advance the development of innovative technologies across a range of industries."

A spokesperson for Bombardier, Belfast, said it was the largest business aircraft sale in the company's history.

News of the order was "very welcome" and represented "a huge vote of confidence in Bombardier, our employees and the Challenger aircraft family", the spokesperson said.

"Bombardier leads the business aircraft market in terms of sales revenues, and through our operations in Belfast, the UK plays a major role in this sector.

"Bombardier in Belfast is responsible for the design and manufacture of the centre fuselage and engine nacelles for the Challenger 605 aircraft, and the centre fuselage for the Challenger 300 business jet. The order will help to sustain jobs in our Northern Ireland operations."

Bombardier is the biggest manufacturing firm in Northern Ireland employing around 5,000 people across four facilities.

The company recently bought a 29-acre site in Newtownabbey where it plans to consolidate some parts of its operations.

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