Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones will underline the UK’s status as a centre of excellence for the global aerospace sector when he visits Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse this week (10-11 October).
The visit comes at the end of another triumphant year for the aircraft manufacturer, which employs over 6,000 people at its Broughton base in north Wales. A successful visit to the Paris Air Show saw the company secure orders and commitments for 466 aircraft, while the company’s newest addition to its aircraft family, the A350 XWB, made its public debut with a high-profile flyby during the show.
Earlier this week, Airbus announced yet another landmark deal with a £5.9bn order for 31 A350 aircraft from Japan Airlines. The order is Airbus’s largest for the A350 so far this year and is the largest ever order the company has received from a Japanese airline. The announcement further cements Airbus in the UK’s global role in wing technology, and will strengthen the order book at the £400m wing factory in Broughton.
Mr Jones will be hosted on the visit to Airbus HQ by Tom Williams, Executive Vice President (Programmes), Paul McKinlay, Head of Broughton Manufacturing and Katherine Bennett, Head of Public Affairs. He will be taken on a tour of the flagship A380 final assembly line, and meet with members of the workforce.
Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:
The UK has the second largest aerospace sector in the world, contributing a huge £24billion to the economy every year and supporting 230,000 jobs across the country. Airbus makes a significant contribution to this success.
The company is a great example of how Wales and the rest of the UK can play a major part in an internationally successful product range; everyone who travels on an Airbus aircraft anywhere in the world is flying on wings designed in Britain and manufactured in Wales.
The continued investment we see from airlines from all corners of the globe is testament to the skills of the British workforce, and the confidence they have in our manufacturing expertise. We will continue to back UK aerospace and encourage further investment in this dynamic source of growth and strength for our economy.
Tom Williams, Executive Vice President (Programmes) at Airbus said:
Airbus is proud to be supporting the Aerospace Growth Partnership. The aerospace sector generates more than £20bn of revenue annually for the UK economy, around 75 per cent of which is exported and the Secretary of State will witness the Welsh and British products and skills which play such a vital part in the production of Airbus aircraft in Toulouse.
During the visit, Mr Jones will also take part in a meeting with Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment and representatives from ADS - the premier trade organisation for all companies operating in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors.
The meeting comes soon after the launch of the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) at the Paris Air Show.
Managed by the Aerospace Growth Partnership and ADS, the £40million industry and government funded programme has been launched to address skills shortages and improve research and development collaboration in the sector. It is envisaged that it will help support the embedding of important new technology and capability into the UK supply chain.
Mr Jones added:
As a Government, we are doing everything possible to get behind UK aerospace. We’ve established an Aerospace Growth Partnership to make sure that, years down the line, this important industry continues to thrive and grow. The National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme is a further demonstration of government and industry working together to strengthen our supply chains.
During the visit, the Secretary of State will also visit the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) - the government agency responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy in Europe.