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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 16:30 GMT
Hundreds of new jobs for Airbus
Airbus A350
The Broughton site is making wings for Airbus's new A350 passenger jet
Aircraft builder Airbus is to create 650 new jobs with an expansion at its wing-making factory at Broughton in Flintshire, north Wales.

The Welsh Assembly government is giving the company a grant of 5.2m which it said would help boost production.

Employing more than 6,000 people, the Airbus plant is already Wales' biggest manufacturing facility.

Last week, the company said it had a record backlog of orders for more than 2,000 aircraft.

The company is increasing production schedules to tackle its order book, having already boosted deliveries by 18% to a new record of 378 aircraft last year, and said it showed there was optimism in the air travel sector.

Broughton, and the firm's Filton site, near Bristol, will share production of the lightweight carbon-based wings for the Airbus A350, launched in October last year, and due to enter into service in 2010.

The north Wales plant has already begun making wings for the A380 super-jumbo, which will be able to seat more than 800 passengers on two decks. The plane had its maiden flight in April 2005.

The Welsh Assembly Government said the grant to be announced on Thursday was a major vote of confidence in the Broughton workforce.

'Fantastic endorsement'

Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "Airbus UK is one of Wales' exemplar companies, a highly innovative company, working across geographical and technological boundaries to set new standards in the competitive global aerospace industry."

AIRBUS KEY FACTS
The first ever Airbus, an A300, took off in October 1974
British Aerospace joined the consortium in 1979
There are over 3,900 Airbus jets in service
Airbus employs a total of 55,000 staff Worldwide
Airbus turnover in 2005 was 15.3bn

Flintshire council's chief regeneration officer, Dave Heggarty called the announcement "wonderful news" for both the company and the region.

"The company now employs well over 7,000 people on the site and around north Wales there are around 12,000 people employed by companies that supply Airbus," he said.

"The wage bill in Broughton alone is around 6m a week.

"Employing people in an industry like aerospace manufacture is extremely expensive - training costs are particularly high. The 650 recruited will go through a lengthy programme and the grant will assist with that training."

Airbus UK, Broughton
Broughton is now one of the largest factories in the UK

Alwyn Rowlands, regional officer with the union Amicus said it was "a tremendous vote of confidence in the work force and in the joint working of the company and trade unions."

"The fact that the jobs that are being created are highly skilled and well paid is even better news for the local economy and we will be pressing for them to come on line as quickly as possible," said Mr Rowlands.

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami led a delegation of Broughton trade union leaders to meet Downing Street last year to press for a government loan to support the launch of the new A350.

He welcomed the investment announcement, saying: "This news comes on the back of record orders for Airbus and shows that the Broughton plant is the world's finest producer of aircraft wings.

"This will take the total number of employees at Broughton beyond the 7,000 mark which is a fantastic endorsement of the present staff, managers and trade unions.

"By the end of 2006, the first delivery of the A380 super jumbo will have taken place and Broughton will be flying higher than ever."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch more about the expansion of the Airbus plant



SEE ALSO:
Airbus 'to turn down state money'
05 Oct 05 |  Business
Talks over 380m loan for Airbus
05 Jul 05 |  North East Wales
Airbus v Boeing: The next battle
26 Apr 05 |  Business
Airbus to launch Boeing 7E7 rival
10 Dec 04 |  Business


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