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The BBC's Simon Montague
"It will be one of the biggest birds that has ever flown"
 real 56k

Friday, 23 June, 2000, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Jobs boost from super jumbo deal
BAE factory worker
The deal could safeguard 160,000 jobs across Europe
Airbus is set to build the world's biggest passenger jet, creating an estimated 20,000 new UK jobs.

Some estimates are that the project could safeguard 160,000 jobs across Europe.

The A3XX is being designed by the Airbus Industrie, made up of four European manufacturers including BAE Systems, and is intended to set the standard for a new generation of airliners.

But the projected jobs bonanza depends on the project being a commercial success.

The work starts

BAE Systems is expected to make the wings for the new plane. Physical assembly will take place at Airbus' headquarters in France while the interior furnishing and customisation will be carried out in Hamburg, Germany.

BAE Systems has already begun detailed design work on the new plane at its Filton plant in Bristol. It is expected to build the wings to the new plane at its Broughton plant near Chester, Cheshire.

AEEU, the engineering union, which represents the majority of BAE Systems staff working on the Airbus project, welcomed the news.

"The A3XX will create more than 20,000 jobs in the UK. Airbus has been an extraordinary European success story and the UK has played a central part," Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the AEEU said.

"We are now a centre for excellence for wingmaking and can directly challenge Boeing at all levels," Sir Ken said.

Demand for large planes

Airbus still has to convince its potential customers that they need to buy the A3XX.

The Airbus consortium EADS believes there will be demand for 1,500 A3XX over the next two decades.

Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard has said that to date 52 A3XX planes have been ordered.

Work on the superjumbo is expected to begin next year and the new plane could be in service by 2004.

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See also:

13 Mar 00 | Business
Jobs delight for aviation workers
12 Jan 99 | The Company File
Airbus taking off
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