Northern Ireland

Airbus takeover of CSeries 'good for Belfast jobs'

Bombardier C-series Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The A220 was formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries before Airbus acquired a majority stake in the project

A senior Airbus executive has said its takeover of Bombardier's CSeries is positive news for jobs in Belfast.

Wings for the plane - renamed the A220 - are made at a factory at Queen's Island supporting 1,000 jobs.

Phillipe Balduchhi, chief executive of the new Airbus-Bombardier tie-up, played down fears wing manufacturing could be moved from Belfast.

He also said he would be "very surprised" if jobs would go as part of a plan to cut costs.

Mr Balduchhi was speaking to BBC News NI at the Farnborough Air Show, where he is chasing more A220 orders.

A new US airline start-up is to order 60 of the aircraft for delivery in 2021.

'Uncertainty behind us'

It follows on from a sale to another US airline, JetBlue, last week.

"The more we sell the better it is for all suppliers, including Belfast," Mr Balduchhi said.

"The uncertainty of 'will this product survive' is very much behind us."

Airbus makes wings for all its other aircraft models in Wales.

But Mr Balduchhi said the manufacturing processes are "very different", meaning there is no immediate plan to move A220 wing making from Belfast.

"As long as we are happy there is no reason to change," he said.

Airbus is asking Bombardier in Belfast to make 20% savings on the cost of the wings.

It means another round of efficiency measures, which unions fear could mean job losses.

However Mr Balduchhi said: "I would be very surprised to see redundancies as part of the package."

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