Bombardier submits full plans to expand Belfast wing production

Bombardier has submitted full plans to expand its aerospace manufacturing capacity in Belfast as site ownership transfers to Spirit Aerosystems.

According to Ulster Business the site will grow by 60% (around 31,000m2), which is home to the company’s resin-infused composite wing production for the A220 aircraft.

Industry monitor CIS Ireland has valued the expansion project at around £24 million.

Bombardier employs 3,600 people including 1,000 working on the A220 programme (formerly the C Series before Airbus took a majority stake).

The site manufactures the wings and fuselage components of the single-aisle aircraft, a segment which has seen increased demand in recent years. The aerostructures operation is being sold to Spirit in early 2020 in a deal worth $1.1 billion.

According to Ulster Business the plans were submitted to Belfast City Council, alongside London-based design company Arup, after carrying out pre-application discussion and community consultation.

The Canadian firm said: “The extension design is largely driven by the spatial requirements of the processes which would be carried out within the building, such as large open spans and clear heights for lifting and manoeuvring the products and tools within the building.”

Related: Airbus to invest up to €1 billion in A220 programme

The Irish News has revealed more information on the report by Bombardier and Arup, which is described as an “ambitious ramp up strategy.”

The report says: “Extensions to the existing wing manufacturing and assembly facility are required to provide additional production capacity to meet growing customer demand.

“Construction would be expected to commence on site as soon as possible following the determination of the application.

“The project would facilitate the evolving needs of the company's manufacturing operation and represents a significant investment in aerospace manufacturing in Belfast.”

The site will transfer into the hands of US-based company Spirit next year after paying $500 million in cash, as well as taking on $300 million in pension liabilities and approximately $290 million of government grant repayment obligations.




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