The CS300 flew into Belfast to celebrate Northern Ireland’s contribution to the success of the C Series programme.
Speaking at the milestone event at Bombardier’s wing facility, where the aircraft wings are manufactured and assembled, Arlene Foster said: “This is a great day for Northern Ireland and I am privileged to have been involved with the C Series programme since its inception. From the Farnborough Air Show in 2008 when the C Series was launched, to laying the foundation stone for this magnificent factory in 2009, and finally today at the end of this fabulous journey I am delighted to see the CS300 returned to Belfast.”
The Minister continued: “The C Series programme is vitally important to the Northern Ireland economy. The Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government are together investing almost £135 million in the form of Launch Investment and grants, which are supporting the establishment of this world-class facility.
“Locating the CSeries aircraft wing project in Northern Ireland is a clear endorsement of the expertise and skill which exist in our aerospace sector and highlights our international reputation for excellence in aerospace.”
Both CSeries aircraft – the CS100 and CS300 – made their first joint public appearance at the Paris Air Show earlier in the week.
The Minister continued: “My colleague, the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Jonathan Bell, was in Paris Air Show earlier this week supporting the Northern Ireland presence at the show and I know that he was privileged to join the many Bombardier people in the show and witness the first flight by a CSeries at an international air event. This was an extremely proud moment for everyone involved in the project and also for all those businesses that support Bombardier’s supply chain in Northern Ireland and further afield.”
Congratulating the team in Northern Ireland and Bombardier sites across the world, the Minister said: “Today we see a modern day image of aerospace technological capability that is truly world class; and that has been manifested through the development work undertaken here in Northern Ireland and now present in this magnificent aircraft.
“I look forward to seeing the aircraft being certified later this year and entry into service as soon as possible thereafter.”
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said: “Northern Ireland has a history of innovation and a dynamic, technology-led and growing aerospace industry. Development of this aircraft provides an opportunity for Northern Ireland to showcase its vital contribution to sustaining the UK aerospace’s position at the forefront of technology development.
“Through the continued roll out of Higher Level Apprenticeships in sector related fields and specifically through the development of a Foundation Degree in Aeronautical Engineering my Department is working in collaboration with industry and academia, to ensure the sector has the skills it needs to prosper.”