Press release

Secretary of State for Wales views new wings at Airbus in north Wales

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, visits Airbus and Raytheon.


Wales is a hub of high skilled manufacturing, and it’s great to see companies like Airbus stimulating the local economy and developing new technologies.

Welsh Secretary of State Alun Cairns will visit Airbus today, 18 September, to see new generation composite A350 XWB wings being built for customers including Qatar Airways.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

Wales is bursting with innovative and world-class companies that are boosting our economy, creating jobs and changing lives across the country. But now is the time to raise the bar and show the world just what Wales has to offer.

Airbus is a great example of a company doing just that– a company with local headquarters yet with an internationally renowned reputation – putting Wales on the map right across the globe.

As Britain prepares to exit the EU we now have the opportunity to shape our own ambitious trade and investment opportunities in Europe and beyond, and put Wales and Britain firmly at the forefront of global trade and investment.

Wales is already an exporting nation. In 2016, 4,000 companies took their first forays into the global market at a value of £12.4 billion. Across the UK, exports contribute over £570 billion to GDP annually.

The visit comes after the Welsh Secretary announced that he is writing to 26,000 Welsh businesses that have been identified as potential exporters and sending them a copy of a dedicated exporting guide for Welsh businesses.

The Wales Export Guide, sets out the full range of support available to Welsh businesses from the UK Government and contains inspiring stories of companies based in Wales that are successfully exporting. Alun Cairns hopes that businesses will recognise the huge potential available to help them invest and grow.

The Secretary of State will visit Airbus’ plant in Broughton, North Wales where its aviation story began with the Wellington Bomber. The plant is responsible for assembling the wings for all Airbus civil aircraft, including the next generation A350 XWB. Producing over 1,000 wings a year, the site employs around 6,000 people – primarily in manufacturing, but also in engineering and support functions such as procurement and finance.

He will meet with senior executives at the company to hear about future developments on site and underline the UK Government’s commitment to providing certainty and stability to businesses in Wales as the UK prepares to exit the European Union. He will also tour the facility, which plays a vital role in the production of some of the world’s most popular and technologically advanced aircraft, meet apprentices and view the latest wings created by Airbus.

Whilst in Broughton, Mr Cairns will also be visiting Raytheon, who he recently met with at the Global Defence Expo, to attend a briefing, tour the site and meet with apprentices.

Mr Cairns added:

Our mission is to become the world’s greatest exporting nation, boosting business confidence and national pride, and empowering more Welsh companies to go out and succeed in global markets.

That is why we are sharing the advice, guidance and support available from the UK Government, in particular from the Department for International Trade, for businesses in our Wales Export Guide. We want to help them to build their brand abroad as we continue to increase UK exports and encourage inward investment.


Annually Airbus spends around £4 billion with suppliers in the UK, a significant contribution to the UK aerospace industry, which supports around 110,000 high value, highly skilled jobs. Wing sets are transported to the final assembly lines in various ways, including by road and the Airbus Beluga Super Transporter aircraft.

Raytheon UK is a technology and innovation leader specialising in Defence, Aerospace, Security, Cyber other commercial markets around the world. With facilities in England, Scotland and Wales, Raytheon employs more 1,500 staff in the UK is also is a major technology exporter to more than 40 countries, including the U.S.

Published 18 September 2017