Northern Ireland

What does Bombardier do?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The wings for Bombardier's C-Series planes are made in Belfast

In 1989, the world's first aircraft manufacturer, Short Brothers in Belfast was sold by the government to the Canadian aerospace firm, Bombardier. Since then, the government has pumped in millions of pounds to the Northern Ireland operation. On Tuesday, the aerospace firm said it will cut up to 1,000 jobs from there.

What does Bombardier do in Northern Ireland?

Canadian-owned Bombardier operates in four locations in Northern Ireland - east Belfast, Newtownabbey, Dunmurry and Newtownards.

As well as making its own range of executive jets, it produces the nacelles, or casings, for Rolls Royce aircraft engines used by Airbus. In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened its newest plant, costing £520m, to make wings for its C-Series planes.

How important is it to the region's economy?

Bombardier is one of Northern Ireland's largest employers with 5,500 people working there. It made an operating profit of $73m (£51.2m) in Northern Ireland in 2014. The same accounts show its wages are worth $260m (£183m) annually to the local economy.

Bombardier produces 10% of Northern Ireland's total manufacturing exports and its significance is huge. It is at the heart of one of Northern Ireland's prized sectors, aerospace.

Dozens of specialist engineering companies across Northern Ireland are suppliers of parts to Bombardier - work which has been a springboard for some of them to also do business with Airbus and Boeing. Bombardier can justifiably claim to support thousands of other well-paid jobs outside its factory gates.

Image caption Bombardier operates four locations in Northern Ireland - east Belfast, Newtownabbey, Dunmurry and Newtownards

Could the NI Executive help it out?

The UK government and Northern Ireland Executive have poured tens of millions of pounds into Bombardier down the years. The C-Series wing factory - the biggest ever inward investment project for Northern Ireland - was helped with a £120m loan.

Bombardier is also one of the most grant-aided firms in the history of Invest NI, the Executive's job creation agency. It has offered Bombardier at least £65m in support.

But recently the grant situation has been complicated by European Union rule changes making it tougher to assist big companies. Even if it were inclined to, the Executive cannot throw money at Bombardier, bail-out style.

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