Northern Ireland

Bombardier: Firm backs CSeries planes to win new orders

Bombardier CS300 aircraft Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The CSeries is Bombardier's first attempt at larger passenger planes

Bombardier has backed its CSeries plane to win new orders, following the release of fresh technical data on its performance at the Paris Air Show.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell visited company executives in the French capital and said: "I have every belief in its success."

The CSeries will enter service with airlines three years behind schedule next year.

It is presently short of a 300-order target.

Currently, firm orders are 243 and there has not been one since last September. It is also $2bn (£1.29bn) over budget.

However, the Canadian aerospace company sees the CSeries Paris debut as a pivotal moment.

'Old-fashioned days'

"There's always a lot of pressure to come up with big orders," president of commercial aircraft Fred Cromer told the BBC.

"But right now it's like the old-fashioned days - we are here to show off the equipment."

The company's Belfast division makes the CSeries wings at a £520m factory in Queens Island.

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Media captionThe new plane, whose wings are made in Belfast, has gone on display in Paris

Full production of the two different sized versions of the aircraft would support 800 jobs in a workforce of 5,700.

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton, who also attended the Paris launch, said: "I believe they will kick on from today. There are many years ahead for this aircraft."

Bombardier's familiar territory is executive jets and this is a major step up into larger passenger planes seating between 100 to 160 passengers.

'Gorillas'

Its competitors are the big two firms Boeing and Airbus.

Aviation analyst Mark Pilling of Flightglobal said "They're two great big gorillas.

"Bombardier need to execute on this aircraft and get orders."

The technical data announced in Paris revealed improved results on fuel economy, the main selling point of the CSeries.

The larger CS300 will fly to Belfast on Friday for what is seen as a morale-boosting visit for workers.

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