The British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron, officially opened Airbus’ new £400 million wing factory in Wales this afternoon, a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility which will assemble the wings for Airbus’ advanced new A350 XWB long-range aircraft family.
The Prime Minister joined hundreds of guests and Airbus employees to unveil the giant, environmentally friendly Airbus North Factory at Broughton, Flintshire where 650 people will eventually work. Bigger than Wembley Stadium, it is one of the largest manufacturing facilities to be built in the UK in recent years and will produce high-tech carbon fibre ‘composite’ wings for the A350 XWB.
The A350 XWB programme will support over 1,200 jobs in the Airbus sites at Filton and Broughton and over 5,000 other high skill/high value jobs across the UK supply chain. Over £3 billion has been invested in the aircraft and its engines by UK aerospace companies in the programme which underpins the key position of the UK as a global centre of aerospace manufacture.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The Government is committed to building a more balanced economy with stronger manufacturing, exports and private investment, creating jobs and opportunities across the UK. I welcome the opening of Airbus's new state of the art facility which will contribute to this and support our programme to create sustainable economic growth. Airbus's investment here also underlines its confidence in the expertise of its British workforce and in the UK's manufacturing base.”
Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan said:" This magnificent facility is a key part of the A350 XWB programme which will help sustain and support thousands of jobs across the UK. I have been a frequent visitor to Airbus and am confident this will further cement Wales' growing reputation as a first class innovator and leader in the Aerospace and supply chain sector. The new A350 XWB facility is great news for the North Wales economy and a tangible example of the kind of private sector growth the Government is working to create."
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones added: “The opening of this world class facility is a major achievement and excellent news for Wales. The Welsh Government and Airbus are delighted to be able to celebrate such a significant event which underlines a major investment in Broughton and reinforces our reputation as a country with high end manufacturing skills and high value products”.
“The Airbus North Factory, a truly world-leading aircraft wing assembly plant, is a major pillar in the Airbus global setup. The opening today marks an important milestone for our A350 programme as we move towards the start of the aircraft final assembly”, said Airbus Chief Executive, Tom Enders. “This new facility and all the teams working on building our A350’s carbon-fibre wings will play a vital role in delivering this new generation aircraft.”
The North Factory assembly line is dedicated to assembling the 31 metre long wings for all members of the A350 XWB Family which is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2013. Currently employing 6,000 people, the 700 acre Airbus site at Broughton specialises in wing production and has a proud tradition of aerospace manufacture going back over 70 years. Over £1.8 billion has been invested into the site in the past decade ensuring it is one of the most modern manufacturing facilities of its type anywhere in the world.
· The pioneering Airbus North Factory covers a total area of over 46,000 square metres.
· 58,000 metres of cable have been installed, this would reach from Broughton to Manchester
· 8,000 tonnes of steelwork were used to build the factory
· 250,000 bolts hold the building together
· Optimised for energy savings, the factory’s power comes in part from three large solar tracking arrays and a wood pellet biomass power plant boiler.
Airbus in the UK and its supply chain provide supplies and services worth nearly £1.5 billion annually to the UK economy. 10,000 people work for Airbus in the UK with 100,000 UK jobs supported through its wider supply chain.
Airbus is the leading aircraft manufacturer offering the most modern, comprehensive and efficient passenger aircraft family on the more than 100-seat market, while its military division is the global leader for transport, tanker and surveillance airlifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload. Airbus in the UK is world-renowned for its centres of excellence for both wing design and manufacture.