Airbus considers acquiring Bombardier Belfast plant
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said on Thursday that the company was considering buying Bombardier’s Belfast wing production plant as the Canadian company is looking to offload the site.
The wing production operation could be run by a third-party supplier, said Faury, who started as Airbus chief executive in April.
He said taking over the plant was an option but that there were other alternatives: “We’ll be looking at it. We will make sure that whatever happens preserves our interest.”
But the manufacturer would be open to the plant continuing to be run by a third-party supplier: “We think wings are very close to our own business. The production could be coming from suppliers if they are reliable and have a long-term perspective. These are the options we will be looking at.”
Airbus is the main customer of the Belfast operation, which makes wings for the A220 model.
Bombardier announced earlier this month it would sell the Belfast plant at which 3,600 people work. This generated another wave of uncertainty regarding redundancies after a layoff in 2015 that saw 1,400 people leave.
Faury’s predecessor, Tom Enders, previously warned that other countries have lobbied for Airbus to move wing production out of the UK because of the uncertainties around Brexit.
Enders said that the future investments of Airbus should go elsewhere if there are trade frictions once the UK leaves the European Union.