Founded in November 1908 by the three Short brothers, Horace, Eustace and Oswald, a contract to build six Wright Flyers for the Wright brothers followed soon after, which led to the brothers being described as the first aircraft manufacturers in the world.
Over the last century, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, initially as Short Brothers, has pioneered many aviation advances. These include the first all-metal aircraft, the Silver Streak; the famous flying boats that opened up the long distance routes to the Far East and Southern Africa; the SC1 vertical take-off and landing research aircraft; the SD3 commuter aircraft, which helped stimulate the development of the regional aircraft market. It has also had major input in Bombardier's CRJ Series family, which has become the most successful regional aircraft in history; and the Learjet 45 aircraft, the world's first all-computer designed business jet.
At a special ceremony at Bombardier's Belfast facility at Queen's Island, signage celebrating 100 years of aircraft innovation was officially unveiled by the Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Nigel Dodds, in the presence of current and former employees.
Speaking at the ceremony, Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: "As a major contributor to the local economy, we have a wonderful aviation heritage. The engineering knowledge, ingenuity, and skills of our employees that have been the hallmark of our company throughout the last century continue today.
"This centenary year is not just an opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the past, but to look forward to the next 100 years. As a world leader in key aerospace technologies, such as advanced composites and engine nacelle development, we are continuing to progress new technologies to ensure we remain at the forefront of aviation excellence, and carry on the tradition of innovation in which our company has always been rooted."
The calendar of events for employees during the centenary year includes Family Days, aircraft displays, competitions and special events, and a commemorative book of photos, whilst 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.
Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast is one of the largest aerospace companies in the UK and makes a significant contribution to the economy. It produces around 10 per cent of Northern Ireland's manufacturing exports, has an annual spend of almost 140m pounds sterling among some 800 suppliers in the UK and Ireland, and has the largest modern apprenticeship scheme on the island. It also contributes to the community through its charitable foundation, which donates two per cent of its pre-tax profits to Northern Ireland-based charities focusing on education, equal opportunities, the environment and economic regeneration programmes. Its training, education, and economic regeneration initiatives have won national and regional awards.
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.
Bombardier, Shorts, CRJ, Learjet, Learjet 45, Silver Streak, SC1 and SD3 are either unregistered or Registered Trade marks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.
Note to editors
Short Brothers was registered in Battersea, England, as an aircraft manufacturer in November 1908, and began manufacturing aircraft for the Wright brothers and others shortly thereafter. It established a factory in Belfast in 1936, and became part of Bombardier Aerospace in 1989.
Contacts: Bombardier Aerospace Maria Ryan +44 (0)28 9046 8545 www.bombardier.com Bombardier Aerospace Helen Gregory +44 (0)28 9046 2463 www.bombardier.com