Business Irish

Sunday 22 April 2018

Sixty Irish suppliers could get caught in Bombardier crossfire

 

Bombardier's massive Belfast operation produces the high-tech wing of the C-Series aircraft using components supplied from across Ireland Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Bombardier's massive Belfast operation produces the high-tech wing of the C-Series aircraft using components supplied from across Ireland Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Fearghal O'Connor

A threatened tariff war between the UK and the US centred around aviation manufacturer Bombardier could create turbulence for as many as 60 Irish employers.

Bombardier's massive Belfast operation relies heavily for key supplies on the aerospace manufacturing sector south of the Border.

Its five Belfast factories, which employ more than 4,000 workers, spend tens of millions of euro a year on supplies from at least 60 different firms in the Republic.

Its high-tech C-Series aircraft, large parts of which are manufactured in Belfast, is at the centre of a major UK-US trade standoff. Components used in the aircraft and other aerospace projects are supplied by factories employing hundreds of workers in Limerick, Waterford, Mullingar, Carlow and Galway. Bombardier has also carried out technical programmes with UCD, University of Limerick, NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway.

Gaeltacht company EireComposites, based in Inverin, Co Galway, has supplied advanced composite components to the Belfast plant since winning a $2.7m (€2.28m) contract in 2008. Technical Engineering Group in Mullingar has produced components since 1981 and is an approved vendor for Bombardier. Another Bombardier supplier, Waterford-based Schivo, which employs up to 300, began assembly of aerospace substructures in 2015. Earlier this year, it was forced to close its Derry-based aircraft parts subsidiary.

In Limerick, medical-device company Takumi Precision Engineering has steadily increased its aerospace business to 60pc of its €6.3m turnover after winning a range of contracts from Bombardier to supply precision parts for the C-Series aircraft.

The company has plans for a major expansion to its factory during 2018, it is understood. A second Limerick-based company, Gerard Daniel Worldwide, is the world's largest supplier of wire cloth products to manufacturing industries and also a key Bombardier supplier.

Sunday Indo Business

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