Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton jetted into Belfast to meet employees of Bombardier Aerospace, in what is the start of a special year in the aircraft operation’s history.
Mr Hamilton, who is Brand Ambassador for Bombardier’s Learjet business jets, paid a flying visit to Belfast in a Learjet 40 XR aircraft to mark the beginning of the centenary year celebrations of the Bombardier site, which was established as Short Brothers in November 1908. Since then, like Mr. Hamilton, Bombardier Aerospace has been a world leader and set a track record of success in its chosen field.
Learjet Brand Ambassador since June 2007, Mr. Hamilton relies on the power, performance and reliability of Learjet aircraft to fly him to numerous engagements around the world.
His visit comprised a tour of Bombardier’s main operating facilities at Queen’s Island, where he had the opportunity to chat with some of the employees who work on the world-renowned Learjet aircraft. The Belfast operation is responsible for the detailed design and manufacture of the complete fuselage for the Learjet 40 XR and Learjet 45 XR business jets.
“I’m delighted to be here today to meet some of the people who are responsible for making a large part of the legendary Learjet aircraft, which is synonymous with speed and performance. It’s fascinating to see the skills and technology involved in constructing the jet,” said Mr. Hamilton.
“I’m particularly pleased to be here at the start of what is a truly historic year for Bombardier’s Belfast operation – 100 years of aircraft innovation. I’m proud to be able to share in the celebration of this extraordinary aviation heritage.”
Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “Lewis Hamilton personifies what the Bombardier Learjet brand stands for: speed, power, agility and performance. We’re delighted that he could take the time to visit our operation and meet some of our employees at the start of our centenary year. Whilst we are celebrating the achievements of the past 100 years, we’re also laying the foundations for our next 100 years to ensure we continue to build on our capabilities and remain at the forefront of aviation excellence.”
A calendar of events for Bombardier’s Belfast employees is planned for the centenary year, including Family Days, aircraft displays, competitions and special events, and a commemorative book of photos. External activities will include sponsorship of an international aeronautical conference, themed participation at the Farnborough International Air Show in July, events in Europe, and a special Centenary Gala Dinner.
2008 is also the year of Learjet, featuring events to celebrate and highlight the 45th anniversary of the first flight of a Learjet aircraft. Learjet is the first name in corporate aviation. Since acquiring Learjet Inc. in 1990, Bombardier has carried forward the brand’s proud legacy by launching eight high-performance and fuel-efficient aircraft.
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from regional aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2007, were $14.8 billion US, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com.
Note to editors
Short Brothers was registered in Battersea, England, as an aircraft manufacturer in November 1908. In 1909 it was awarded the contract to build six Wright Flyers for the Wright brothers, which led to the company being described as the first aircraft manufacturer in the world. It established a factory in Belfast in 1936, and became part of Bombardier Aerospace in 1989. Further information on the centenary can be found at www.bombardier.com.
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