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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
'No job cuts', says Airbus chief
Airbus A380
Airbus are bringing in "strong measures" to deal with the delay
The chief executive of Airbus has said the company plans to cut costs by nearly a third as a result of delays to its A380 superjumbo.

But in an interview with a German newspaper, Christian Streiff said the company was not expecting to announce jobs cuts.

The wings of the A380 are made at the Airbus plant in Broughton, Flintshire.

Workers at the plant are waiting to hear how they will be affected by the delays to the plane.

Union officials at the factory said most of the 1,500 workers who have been making wings for the A380 had already been re-deployed to other projects.

Earlier on Wednesday, Airbus managers insisted it was "business as usual" at the factory.

But airlines which placed orders for the superjumbo are reviewing their options after Airbus confirmed further delays in production.

Senior shop steward at the factory, Charlie Gregory, said the company had promised to keep the unions informed to avoid rumour and speculation, but had not made any official announcement yet.

The company so far has around 150 firm orders for the superjumbo, whose wings are made at Filton in Bristol as well as Broughton.

This is a huge issue - a major setback for the company and the workforce in the UK
Carl Sergeant
Alyn and Deeside AM

But Airbus confirmed on Tuesday that the first A380 - due to have been delivered to Singapore Airlines at the end of 2006 - would not now be ready until October 2007.

Other airlines have been told to expect delays of up to a year because of continuing difficulties with wiring within the plane's entertainment systems.

Alyn and Deeside's AM Carl Sergeant said he hoped the expertise at Broughton would help protect the 7,000-strong workforce.

He said: "This is a huge issue - a major setback for the company and the workforce in the UK, particularly at Broughton in Flintshire.

"This is not easily transferable technology, this is a huge plant with a huge knowledge base, it's not easy to lift it up and move it to another part of the company."

Local MP Mark Tami said he would remain in close contact with the company.

He added: "It's clearly a worrying time for the company, and clearly there are implications, but hopefully this will be a carefully managed situation rather than one where people lose their jobs.

Airbus A380
A380 delays could cost Airbus as much as 2bn euros

"That's always been the company's approach, thankfully they don't have a hire-and-fire approach. The workforce at Broughton is a highly-skilled one."

Airbus management are due to meet unions in Toulouse, where the company is based.

Union officials at the Broughton factory said most of the 1,500 workers who have been making wings for the A380 have already been re-deployed to other projects.

There is a stockpile of A380 wings at Broughton - which can not be fitted because of the latest delays - and most staff are now working on wings for other models.

Union officials are therefore hopeful that the latest delays will have a minimal effect.

Airbus said it had implemented "strong measures," including management changes, to address the problem, but these changes would take time to "bear fruit".

Commenting on the delays, the company added: "Airbus is in close contact with its customers and is doing its utmost to find ways and means to alleviate the burden this represents for them."

"The A380 is turning into a nightmare to build"

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