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Bombardier Aviation reduces Belfast workforce

Posted 11 June 2020 · Add Comment

Following last week's news that Bombardier Aviation would adjust its workforce to align with current market conditions reflecting the extraordinary industry interruptions and challenges caused by COVID-19, it today announced it will reduce its Belfast workforce by approximately 400 people.



Above:
Bombardier Belfast.
Courtesy Bombardier


Bombardier Aviation has now reviewed its requirements in Belfast for all of its aircraft programmes and regrettably confirms that it must adjust its core workforce levels downwards by around 400 to align with market demand for the remainder of this year and through 2021.

Around 400 Bombardier core employee jobs in Northern Ireland are currently at risk of redundancy. The company will be lodging a formal HR1 redundancy notice with the Department for the Economy, following which there will be a 90-day consultation period when Bombardier Aviation will explore opportunities to mitigate the number of redundancies.

Bombardier Aviation said it deeply regrets the impact this will have on its workforce and their families but concludes it is crucial that it resizes the business in line with market realities in these unprecedented circumstances.

Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Bombardier’s move to cut up to 2,500 jobs in its aviation business, of which 600 are based in Belfast, must be understood in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and more fundamental transformations wanted by the company. Even before the pandemic wiped out air travel, and as a consequence eroded the need for commercial jetliners, Bombardier was engaged in divestments to reduce its exposure to aviation with the sale of its regional jet C-Series to Airbus in 2018 and its CRJ program to Mitsubishi in 2019. Considering that airlines and leasing companies accumulate cancellations and postponements of orders, Bombardier seem decided to accelerate its strategy in order to avoid overcapacity.

“The former C-Series, rebranded A220, is at the heart of the decision. Airbus decided earlier this year to postpone the planned production increase of the regional jet in spite of relatively good sales figures. The European plane maker still intends to reach an eventual production rate of ten platforms per month, compared to four at the moment, but not before 2026. Bombardier still produces wings for the A220 in its Belfast facility in Northern Ireland, but there is little point in maintaining production rate when the final integrator Airbus seems itself on the back foot.

“Regional aircrafts are not favoured by plane makers at the moment. Mitsubishi has shelved its SpaceJet program that was supposed to take off this year. Boeing has withdrawn from a partnership with Embraer on commercial aviation. It is hard to foresee how post-COVID-19 commercial aviation will look like, but anticipated social distancing safety regulations might not be well fitted to the costly, high-density cabins of regional jets. Bombardier’s decision to cut 600 positions in Belfast is both based on the reality of demand, adapted to Airbus’ decision, and on a more fundamental strategy regarding the future of regional jets.”

 

 

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