Canadian airframer Bombardier today started construction of a site in Belfast, Northern Ireland that will house wing production for its new CSeries aircraft.
Bombardier is constructing the new 600,000 sq ft (55,740 sq m) factory in two phases, and will incorporate an existing production building at the site.
Today during a ceremony marking the beginning of construction Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster estimated the 20-year CSeries programme should generate roughly 800 high quality jobs at Bombardier Belfast.
Previously a Bombardier spokesman has said the total investment represented by the CSeries wing programme in Belfast, including the new factory, is about £520 million ($860 million).
Bombardier Aerospace Belfast general manager Michael Ryan says testing is underway to prove out the design, manufacturing and assembly processes for the CSeries aircraft wing.
A pre-production demonstrator wing has already been assembled using a resin transfer infusion advanced composites process, and testing of the wing is scheduled to begin early next year. The testing will be conducted in a specialised rig where hydraulic jacks will be used to induce bending and twisting into the wing structure, replicating every possible combination of severe loading that the wing may experience in service.
First flight of the CSeries is scheduled for 2012, followed by entry-into-service in 2013.