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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Aerospace firms ready for fallout
Lufthanza has dropped an order for 15 A380 superjumbos
Lufthanza has dropped an order for 15 A380s
The aerospace industry in Wales is braced for possible cutbacks after leading aeroplane manufacturers and airlines announced major redundancies.

British Airways has joined Virgin in cutting thousands of workers in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States and mounting operating costs.

BA said the "exceptional conditions" of last week's attacks meant 5,200 extra jobs on top of 1,800 previously announced.

The BAE Airbus plant at Broughton, Flintshire - recently buoyed after winning the contract to build wings for the A380 "superjumbo" - could be affected by the sudden shrinking of the air industry.

The sector accounts for over 13,000 jobs in Wales.
BAE won the wing assembly contract for the A380
BAE won the wing assembly contract for the A380

The American-owned GE air engine maintenance plant at Nantgarw, near Cardiff, has quashed speculation surrounding some of the 300 jobs there.

A spokesperson said the workers are safe for the time being, but was uncertain of long-term prospects and are preparing to update staff on the situation.

Air maintenance plants at Llantrisant and Rhoose in south Wales could also be affected.

Airbus's Flintshire plant is reliant on a healthy order book.

But German airline Lufthansa announced on Wednesday it is cancelling an order for up to 15 A380s.

The news followed Boeing's decision to cut 30,000 jobs.

Airbus said on Wednesday that it was "too early to say" if the decision would have an impact on the European consortium's plans.

The A380 deal announced last year safeguarded 1,500 jobs jobs at Broughton and was set to create a further 1,500, which was welcomed by the Welsh Assembly.

Drop in demand

Airbus said it had no immediate plans to change production patterns, with the consortium less dependent on the US for plane orders than Boeing.

The consortium said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the medium to long-term view. British Airways has announced it is cutting 5,000 jobs and axing certain routes.

The company has already lost 300m this year and is expecting a large drop in demand for its profitable transatlantic routes, following last Tuesday's terrorist strikes.

BA employs around 1,000 in Wales and uses the Cardiff airport to carry out maintenance on those long-range Boeing 747 and 777 craft.

The company was unable to clarify whether any of those positions would be affected, and unions are braced for redundancies.

The introduction of new safety rules and a collapse in public confidence have combined to push airlines to bring in swift cost-saving measures.

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See also:

15 May 00 | Wales
BAE's optimism over jobs grant
30 Nov 00 | Wales
Superjumbo orders take-off
29 Jun 00 | Wales
Superjumbo aid pressure grows
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