Published Tuesday, 27 November 2012
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VistaJet has signed a deal for up to 142 Global jets from Bombardier.
It includes firm orders for 56 of the aircraft - valued at around $3.1bn US - with further options for another 86 jets taking the total up to $7.8bn (£4.8bn).
Delivery of the aircraft will begin in 2014.
Bombardier's base in Belfast is responsible for designing and building the fuselage and other parts of the Global aircraft.
The order will help secure the jobs of the roughly 5,500 workers there.
The company's VP General Manager, Michael Ryan, told UTV the financial benefit to Belfast will be in the hundreds of millions of pounds.
He said: "We will be delivering the components out of Belfast to go for the final aircraft which are being built in Toronto and Montreal over the next couple of years and that's a great reflection on both the programme and the excellence of the people who work here.
This order - the largest ever business aircraft sale in Bombardier's history - will help to sustain jobs and secure our long-term future, in addition to benefiting our local supply chain.
"We in Belfast play a major role in the business jet sector - an important market which Bombardier leads. Bombardier in Belfast is responsible for the design and manufacture of a range of parts for the Global aircraft family, including the forward fuselages, engine nacelles, horizontal stabilisers and other components."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said it will benefit the local aerospace supply chain.
"Bombardier in Northern Ireland plays a major role in the business jet sector, and this multi-million pound contract is a welcome boost for their workforce here," said the DUP minister.
"It reflects a confidence in the company and in its staff in Northern Ireland.
"Bombardier has had a presence in Belfast since 1989. This order, the largest ever business aircraft order in Bombardier's history, will help to sustain jobs and secure its long-term future, in addition to benefiting the local aerospace supply chain."
Building work on the jets is due to start soon.
The first order involves 25 Global 5000, 25 Global 6000 and six Global 8000 jets.
Steve Ridolfi of Bombardier Business Aircraft said: "We welcome VistaJet's ongoing commitment to global coverage within existing and developing new markets.
"Our Global aircraft are perfect for VistaJet's business strategy to deliver the ultimate business jet family to all corners of the world."
Local politicians have welcomed the news
Alliance MP Naomi Long said: "This contract will help to secure and build for the long-term term future of Bombardier, including at their site in East Belfast.
"We have a very proud industrial heritage in this part of the city, with internationally competitive companies, and this contract will help continue this tradition.
DUP MLA Robin Newton said: "Given today's difficult economy this is superb news. It is a credit to the management and the workforce and is a vote of confidence in the company and their abilities to deliver on an order of this scale."
Meanwhile Jimmy Kelly from the Union Unite hailed it as a "historic order" in a "particularly fragile economic time".
He continued: "Unite understands that it will secure the current workforce levels for a number of years."