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The BBC's Jane O'Brien
"It's not just the workers here who are gaining"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 March, 2000, 16:32 GMT
Jobs delight for aviation workers
Wing testing
There will be jobs from research to construction
Thousands of UK aerospace workers are looking forward to a more secure future now the Airbus A3XX project is going ahead.

The UK Government has provided 530m of funding to BAE Systems to enable it to develop the wings for the new super-Jumbo.

It had been feared that the work would go to Germany.

The loan means that 22,000 jobs could be created at BAE and its suppliers, and another 60,000 will be safeguarded.

Wing worker
Workers are delighted their jobs look safe
BAE Systems, formerly British Aerospace, has plants at Filton near Bristol, Broughton in north Wales and Prestwick in Ayrshire.

It is one of the members of the four-nation European consortium which is developing the giant aircraft to compete with US manufacturer Boeing.

The government package means Airbus could begin production within 18 months on the twin-deck plane, which could seat 800 passengers.

Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers said the project would be a massive boost for many parts of the country.

"It is a clear vote of confidence in British manufacturing and reflects our approach to industrial policy - not standing to one side and leaving everything to the market, nor intervening to prop up failing industries, but supporting innovation," he said.

Secure future

Workers at the wing plant at Filton were delighted with the news.

Andrew Powell, who has worked at the site for four years, said: "It's great news for Filton and for Bristol as a whole.

Plane engines
It is hoped engine makers might also benefit
"Where I work it's a young site where we make the wings and this news will hopefully secure our long-term future."

Richard Cain, who has been at Filton for 18 months, commented: "Everyone is very pleased and grateful.

"Everybody's talking about it inside and hopefully it means we can keep on working and it secures our jobs."

Worker John Smith said: "It is obviously great news for us, especially if all the jobs come this way rather than going abroad."

Filton has been campaigning hard for government backing for some time.

It carries out research and development for the wings, and several hundred jobs could soon be created there.

Spin-off effect

BAE Systems Aerostructures, which makes major elements of the Airbus wing at Prestwick and other factories, has also welcomed the decision.

Project director Neil McManus said: "This is excellent news for those involved in Airbus manufacture in both Scotland and the north-west of England."

Danny Carrigan, of the AEEU union, said: "We are also hopeful that it will help Rolls-Royce in Hillington and East Kilbride through the spin-off effect."

The two Rolls-Royce plants in the Glasgow area make and test jet engines.

Although there are no orders yet for the new plane, BAE chairman Sir Richard Evans said it had been designed in consultation with 20 of the world's leading airlines, and the company was confident that orders would start rolling in.

It is also hoped that transport companies might be interested in freight versions of the aircraft.

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13 Mar 00 | Business
Super-Jumbo deal boosts industry
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