Published on December 21st, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer0
Bombardier Belfast Selected for New Airbus Nacelle Programme
Bombardier’s Belfast facility has been chosen to develop and manufacture a new thrust reverser to enable Airbus to offer a new, innovative nacelle and its aftermarket support for Pratt & Whitney’s Pure Power PW1100G engine that power the A320neo family. The company is already a supplier to Airbus on a number of programmes. Its Belfast operation has extensive nacelle experience and expertise, having accumulated more than 40 years in the design, development, manufacture and support of aircraft engine nacelles.
Stephen Addis, Vice-President, Customer Services and Programmes, Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services, said “We are delighted to have been selected as a supplier on this new nacelle, which will enable us to build on the relationship we already have with Airbus. This work package reinforces our long-term strategy to grow our capabilities in the nacelles market and to focus on delivering innovative, higher value products and services in an extremely competitive global environment.”
US Import Duty
Bombardier are facing a complaint from rival Boeing that it has engaged in anti-competitive practices by selling the C-Series below cost to Delta Air Lines. The US Commerce Department has slapped preliminary anti-subsidy duties of 219.63% on CSeries jets after Boeing accused Canada of unfairly subsidising the new aircraft from Bombardier. Aeromexico has held preliminary talks to take some CSeries jets orders from Delta Air Lines, which owns a large stake in the Mexican carrier, to avoid the possible US trade duties.
Union chiefs have warned that hundreds of jobs are under threat in Belfast as a result. A final decision will be made in February that might result in duties of 219.63% and 79.82% totalling 299.45% being imposed on Bombardier products in the US. The company employs about 1,000 people in Belfast linked to the C-Series.
Unite regional officer for Bombardier in Northern Ireland, Susan Fitzgerald, said: “This decision poses a devastating risk for the Northern Ireland economy. “Tariffs on the scale proposed by the US Commerce Department in the world’s largest airline market, threaten to undermine the long-term economics of Bombardier’s presence in Northern Ireland.
“Not only is it a threat to the economy, it poses a significant threat to stability in Northern Ireland. Unite is very conscious that workplaces are the largest integrated environments in our society.”
Mike Nadolski, Bombardier’s Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, said evidence presented by Boeing earlier this week at the US International Trade Commission demonstrated an “unfounded assault” on airlines, the flying public, and the US aerospace industry.
The CSeries has been very well received by its new customers with no significant issues with entry into service. However, like most modern aircraft single aisle aircraft, the availability of engines appears to be driving the pace of production. Bombardier is reviewing 2017 delivery plans for the CSeries, after Pratt & Whitney said it was resolving issues with its GTF engines to make them more durable.
Pratt & Whitney shipped 120 geared turbofan engines in the third quarter to stay on pace to meet an annual delivery target, but durability concerns still require diverting 12-15% of output to a spares pool and drive company officials to consider new design changes.
According to FlightGlobal “To keep a growing fleet of A320neo family aircraft and Bombardier CSeries in the air, P&W has enlarged the spares pool. By diverting the engines to the spares pool, however, P&W has slowed the pace of deliveries to assembly lines for Airbus and Bombardier. The situation will become even more pressured next year, as Embraer introduces the E190-E2 into service as P&W attempts to nearly double engine deliveries while still contending with the combustor liner durability problem.”
Bombardier has a Letter of Intent from an unidentified European customer to order 31 CSeries and options for 30. Lufthansa Group looks like the most likely customer.
Bombardier & Brexit
Bombardier Belfast has said it would be against plans to preserve boundary free travel with the Republic if it would mean effectively moving the boundary of the customs union into the Irish Sea. Michael Ryan, Bombardier’s president of aerostructures and engineering services, said in an interview with Bloomberg that keeping the province in the customs union would tie up their day-to-day imports with red tape and delays. “Most of them come via the mainland, through the ports of Liverpool and Southampton, whether from UK suppliers, European suppliers or from North America and China,” Only a small number of items are flown in via Dublin airport, he said.
“We’re not like Airbus, which wants to be able to move people between France, Germany, Spain and the UK,” Ryan said. “Most of our employees are local to Belfast. We have very few from the mainland and even fewer from the south.” Being a Canadian company operating in the EU, many of their imports are already subject to duties and many of their staff require visas. Implementation of WTO rules are not an issue for the company as Aerospace is exempt.
Prior to the Brexit Referendum, Bombardier Belfast’s position was that the UK remaining within the EU was better for their aerospace business.
“Access to integrated European supply chains is critical to our business, and the free movement of goods across Europe contributes significantly to our competitiveness. Our company also benefits significantly from EU investment in research and innovation projects, and the learning opportunities such projects afford through collaboration with other European aerospace companies. Our future is predicated on our ability to remain competitive, and R&D is fundamental in supporting this. “As one of Northern Ireland’s largest employers, we strongly believe that our competitiveness and future success is better served if the UK remains part of the European Union.” the company said in a statement in April 2016.