It’s probably true that the annoucement of “the investment of more than half a billion pounds in Bombardier Shorts will help secure the Belfast plant’s long-term future” as Bernie Hamilton, of the union Unite, is reported to have said. But along with the headline figures there are some details worth considering from the RTÉ report – “Between loans and grants, the British government is putting up £150m.” Or, as the BBC report, “The government has also agreed to provide £52m to the project at Bombardier’s east Belfast plant as part of a wider £155m government investment package in the Canadian firm.” Best to go to the source for further clarification on those figures.
Bombardier has received and accepted offers of repayable investments from the governments of Canada and Québec as well as Northern Ireland and British Government Departments. The total repayable investments will cover approximately one-third of the expected R&D costs. Bombardier will also contribute about one-third, as will key suppliers.
And, whilst Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward can say, “The decision by Bombardier is a huge vote of confidence in devolution”, and NI First Minister Peter Robinson can claim that, “I just know, without giving away too many of the commercial issues involved, that this simply would not have happened if there had not been devolved institutions in Northern Ireland”, or deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, “The investment will also see the development of state-of-the-art technology as well as developing the manufacturing and engineering skills of our workforce that will benefit our economy for years to come.” Bombardier have never let local politics interfere with global commercial decisions. From that same BBC report.
Announcing the investment on the eve of the Farnborough air show, Bombardier said greener fuel-efficient technology used in the C-Series would “revolutionise” the 100 to 149 seater market. The long-running project was dropped two years ago, but the Canadian aerospace firm resurrected it last year amid rising fuel costs globally.