MIAMI – Bombardier’s production plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, caught fire on Sunday evening, May 24, around 20:45 local time. The incident occured in a building nearby where some Airbus A220 components are made.
The fire department of the city arrived at the scene and managed the blaze. It is currently known that there have been no injuries, but the damage caused by the emergency has not yet been assessed.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) said the fire appeared to have started in machinery and the cause is under investigation, according to a report by the Belfast Telegraph.
“At this stage the cause is believed to be accidental,” the service added.
Six fire engines, an air unit, and a high-flow pump, along with 50 men from the fire department, were needed to control the fire at the Bombardier plant, according to a report by transponder1200.com.
The Belfast plant is responsible for producing the wings of the Airbus A220 – previously known as the Bombardier CSeries, which are made of composite materials. In 2018 Airbus took control of the CSeries project and renamed it A220.
How the interests of Bombardier, Airbus and Spirit Aerosystems could be affected by the incident
In February 2020, Bombardier finished selling its stake in the A220 project to Airbus. Currently, more than 100 aircraft units are in service, out of a total of 642 orders, with Delta Airlines (DL) being the main operator.
According to the Canadian manufacturer, Bombardier will receive US$591 million from Airbus for its 33.58 percent stake in the joint Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (ACLP).
The transaction increases Airbus’s share in the A220 to 75 percent, while the Quebec government retains a 25-percent stake that it plans to sell to Airbus in 2026, three years later than scheduled.
Bombardier reported a loss of $1.61b for 2019. The company said at the time that it would use the funds from the Airbus sale to pay down its more than US$9b debt.
In addition, in October 2019 it was announced that Bombardier would sell the plant in question to Spirit Aerosystems. Although the status of the transaction is unknown, this incident will be a major blow to the company, which is also one of Boeing’s main suppliers for the 737 MAX project.
Bombardier could now suffer economic losses at a time when it is already leaving behind the CSeries project, Airbus could have problems with the production of the A220, and Spirit Aerosystems is now set to receive the plant with some problems to solve.