Tough times ahead as Bombardier hits profit

The firm is back in the black for 2016 after a loss-making 2015
The firm is back in the black for 2016 after a loss-making 2015

Planemaker Bombardier’s Belfast division returned to profit last year but further job cuts are likely as the firm strives to maintain competitiveness.

The warning comes in the annual financial report of the Canadian giant’s Belfast aerospace division which shows a pre-tax profit of US$133 million (£107m) for 2016, compared to a loss of $280m (£225m) a year earlier.

Welcoming the turnaroud, the company said there had been “a number of achievements to applaud,” among them certification for both the CSeries aircraft the CS100 and CS300, the high tech composite wings for which were designed and are produced in Belfast.

It added that cost saving programmes were making progress but warned it must “ continue to step up the pace”.

“Whilst our focus remains on driving for further cost savings... we are also endeavouring to win new business.

“However, we can only aggressively pursue new opportunities if we significantly improve our cost competitiveness.”

As part of that strategy, it said it would continue to transfer certain activities to its global supply chain and to sister sites in Mexico and Morocco.

During the year the firm reduced its workforce by almost 1,100 as part of a five-year turnaround plan.