JOBS are to be lost at Thompson Aero Seating in Banbridge after the company announced a redundancy consultation with workers.
A total of 180 jobs are to be cut across the company's three sites in Portadown and single site in Banbridge, located on the Seapatrick Road.
It is the latest major blow to the local aviation industry as just over two weeks ago it was announced that Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel was cutting a further 62 jobs.
A company spokesperson said: “It is with great regret that the company has taken this essential step, which is a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact it has had on the travel and airline industry and related market pressures.
“The company will continue to focus on winning new business as the market begins to slowly recover.
“As Thompson Aero Seating enters into a consultation period with those affected by this development, the company’s immediate priority is to support its employees at this time.”
Upper Bann SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said the announcement comes as a “devastating blow” to the economy of Northern Ireland.
“Today’s announcement will come as a very severe blow to this workforce and to communities in Portadown and Banbridge.
“My thoughts are with the workers and their families who face a very uncertain future. I want to assure them that I will be exploring every opportunity to provide support to those affected in this industry. I will be meeting with trade union representatives as soon as possible.
“Should job losses on this scale proceed, it will represent a devastating blow not just to the workers affected and their families, at this time of crisis, but to the economy of Northern Ireland as a whole.
“Aerospace plays a central role in our region’s economic success, but the sector faces huge challenges as a result of the Covid shutdown of the aviation sector leading to a collapse in new orders. The Executive cannot afford to sit back and watch – it must now intervene to protect vital industrial capacity, jobs and skills.”