His Royal Highness The Duke of York has praised Airbus and its workers for being a "classic model of how integrated European companies can be world leaders in this field and one that all Europeans should be proud of."
During a day-long visit to the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse, Prince Andrew met dozens of employees from Airbus, engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and landing gear specialist Messier-Dowty. He told them: "I wish you every success for the brilliant work you are doing."
The Duke, a former Royal Navy pilot who for the last four years has been the UK's special representative for international trade and investment, is working in conjunction with UK Trade and investment (UKTI), which supports UK companies trading internationally.
He inspected the A380, A340-600 and Airbus Corporate Jetliner mock-ups before transferring to the Clément Ader plant to speak to employees.
The Duke's party paused briefly in a hectic schedule to view the first A380 in Airbus livery parked outside the flight test centre before visiting the Airbus Training Centre. Here the Duke had 'hands-on' experience of flying the A340 simulator under the expert guidance of Airbus pilot Captain John Scully.
The final part of the royal visit was a tour of the A380 final assembly line in the Jean-Luc Lagardère factory, where the Duke spoke to employees from Airbus UK and Rolls-Royce.