Bombardier’s CSeries Aircraft Wing Manufacturing Facility Gets Under Way in Belfast
Bombardier Aerospace today celebrated another major milestone in the CSeries aircraft programme as construction got under way on its new state-of-the-art aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“This is another significant milestone in the ongoing development of the CSeries aircraft programme. In August, the test fuselage barrel arrived ahead of schedule at our St-Laurent, Québec site, from China, and in September we celebrated the groundbreaking of our first CSeries aircraft manufacturing building in Mirabel, Québec. The CSeries aircraft programme is progressing well and to schedule, and we look forward to receiving the first test wing from Belfast in 2011,” said Guy Hachey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Aerospace.
The new 600,000 sq ft (55,742 m2) factory is being built in two phases and will incorporate an existing production building. The facility’s design and layout are being optimised both for the production process and to minimise environmental impact. The structure will ensure maximum energy efficiency, and will incorporate low energy solutions into its mechanical and electrical infrastructure. Waste management was also a key consideration in the design, with a particular focus being given to waste segregation and recycling.
Joining Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast to lay a special corner stone to mark the construction was Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, along with guests including contractors.
“We are delighted to mark this major investment in a new facility for the production of advanced composite aircraft wings. The CSeries aircraft programme will help to build on our track record of almost 40 years experience in composites technology. We are currently testing and proving out the design, manufacturing and assembly processes for the CSeries aircraft wing. We are making excellent progress and are very pleased with the results so far,” said Michael Ryan.
“Just over a year ago, the CSeries aircraft project was announced. Today we have laid the corner stone for a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. This is a 20-year programme which will generate around 800 high quality jobs at Bombardier Belfast in addition to the many employment opportunities during the build phase for the local construction sector during the current downturn,” declared Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.
“Locating the CSeries aircraft wing project in Northern Ireland is a clear endorsement of the expertise and skill which exists in our aerospace sector and highlights our international reputation for excellence. As this project develops, I hope that there will be further opportunities for Bombardier and Invest Northern Ireland to strengthen the Northern Ireland aerospace industry,” she added.
Bombardier Belfast has successfully assembled a pre-production demonstrator wing using its innovative Resin Transfer Infusion advanced composites process, and is on track to begin testing this in early 2010. Testing will be undertaken in a specialised test rig where hydraulic jacks will be used to induce bending and twisting into the wing structure, replicating every possible combination of severe loading that the wing may experience in service.
Almost 400 engineering and support staff in Belfast are currently engaged in the research and development of the wings. Some 800 jobs will be generated during full production, as well as many more in the wider supply chain. In addition, around 450 construction personnel are involved in this first phase of the building project.
“We are delighted that Bombardier Belfast’s capabilities and skills, as well as the wider economy, will benefit strongly from the CSeries aircraft programme,” Mr Ryan added.
Since launching the CSeries family of aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2008, Bombardier has recorded firm orders for 50 CS100 and CS300 aircraft from Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Lease Corporation International Group. The CSeries aircraft, which are optimized for the longer range, single-aisle 100- to 145-seat market, will deliver the lowest operating costs in their class, exceptional operational flexibility, wide body comfort and an unmatched environmental scorecard.
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