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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 16:02 GMT
New partnership for Airbus industry
Airbus Superjumbo
Airbus A380 come from Broughton in Flintshire
Over 40 jet engine and plane parts manufacturers in north Wales are joining forces to beef up the region's 2bn aerospace sector.

The organisations have formed the North Wales Aerospace Group network to develop business-to-business partnerships and strengthen supply chains.

It could bode well for the 10,000-strong aerospace workforce, which have lost jobs in the wake of the 11 September crisis.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan is fond of business-to-business partnerships
First Minister Rhodri Morgan unveiled the group at Airbus UK's Broughton wings plant in Flintshire on Friday.

The jewel in the region's aerospace crown, the company is losing 200 jobs through redundancies after workers voted for a four-day week and an overtime ban in a bid to reduce the casualties.

Wrexham wing parts supplier Trefn laid off 124 of its 403 staff after an 8.4m reduction in orders to Airbus.

GE's aero-engine facility at Nantgarw outside Cardiff has also axed hundreds.

And French construction consortium Vinci turned its back on a buy-out of Cardiff International Airport owners TBI after shares plunged followed the attacked on the World Trade Center.

Buoyant aerospace

But orders for Airbus aircraft in Europe have remained reasonably buoyant in the face of the international slump.

The latest upbeat news came on Friday, with Toulouse-based consortium president Noel Foregaard announcing the company would build a rival to America's B52 stealth bomber.

And Airbus is locked in a battle with bitter US rival Boeing to deliver 75 new planes to growing budget airlines easyjet.

Airbus workers, Broughton
Airbus workers have accepted a 35-hour week

Backed by the Welsh Development Agency, North Wales Aerospace Group will cement Airbus growth and develop spin-off aeroplane talent in the region.

With assistance from education and training council ELWa, the partnership could result in more aerospace traineeships.

Rhodri Morgan said: "North Wales' association with the aerospace industry has a long and successful history.

"It is a world-class industry and we want to ensure that it remains strong and competitive in the future.

"Despite its current problems, aerospace will remain a key industry with long-term growth.

"This new forum will enable the aerospace sector in North Wales to exchange and pool their expertise on new technology, processes and skills - this will give them the competitive edge in the world market."

Raytheon at Broughton, Thales at St Asaph, DARA at Sealand and BRAMA at RAF Valley on Anglesey are other key members of the forum.

Constituent companies generate over half of the estimated 2bn value of the sector.

Airlines around the world are cutting staff after the terror attack

US airline crisis

UK and Europe

Aerospace industry

Travel and tourism

Global impact

WAR AND TERROR
See also:

14 Dec 01 | Wales
06 Dec 01 | Business
01 Dec 01 | Wales
10 Nov 01 | Wales
09 Nov 01 | Wales
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