News story

Chancellor and Airbus announce cutting edge research facility

New £37 million aircraft technology centre will safeguard hundreds of jobs in the South West.

Airbus concept plane. Copyright Airbus 2011.

Hundreds of highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs will be safeguarded in the South West thanks to a new £37 million research facility, the Chancellor has announced today (Thursday 28 Jan).

On a visit to Airbus in Filton, George Osborne joined the company’s COO Tom Williams to announce a £37 million investment in a new Wing Integration Centre to develop and test the aerospace technology of the future, ensuring that hundreds of highly skilled jobs remain in Britain for years to come.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

When it comes to aerospace design Britain is the innovator of Europe and I want to see us going even further and becoming the global leader.

That is why, with Airbus, we are committing £37 million for a new cutting edge research facility right here in the heart of the South West.

Not only will the new research centre play home to some of the most exciting innovations in aerospace, for years to come it will also protect hundreds of highly skilled jobs.

Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Tom Williams said:

I would like to thank the Chancellor for visiting Filton today and making this vitally important announcement for the UK and Airbus.

It is crucial we take the lead in developing new technology and this facility will help to shape the future of air travel for decades to come.

This joint investment is a further boost to the Airbus site at Filton which is the global leader in design and testing of wings, fuel systems, and landing gear.

The new ‘open access’ facility – capable of housing a full-scale civil airline wing – will also serve as a high-tech innovation space for other companies and sectors, outside of aerospace.

Opening in 2017, the centre will initially bring together around 300 highly skilled engineers who are currently based in other areas across the Filton site.

It is estimated that their work will safeguard over 900 R&D jobs in the south-west and then up to a further 1500 manufacturing jobs in the longer term.

The £37.2 million funding is being awarded through the aerospace technology funding programme, and is made up of an £18.6 million government investment matched by Airbus to create the new centre.

This investment forms part of the overall £3.9 billion aerospace technology funding programme, a joint industry and government funding commitment which looks to build on the UK’s strengths and develop the products and manufacturing technologies that will best position the UK to sustain its global competitiveness.

The programme is delivered in partnership between the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.

As set out in the Spending Review, the government has protected funding for the aerospace technology funding programme and committed to supporting aerospace technologies for years to come.

The aerospace technology programme is a £3.9 billion joint funding commitment from industry and government to support projects which build on the UK’s strengths and develop the products and manufacturing technologies that will best position the UK to sustain its global competitiveness.

The programme is a partnership between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute. The commitment was made in 2013 and the 2015 Spending Review announced that the funding would be extended by 6 years to 2025-26, worth an additional £900 million from HMG.

Published 28 January 2016