Press release

Welsh aviation sector in the spotlight

Secretary of State for Wales to underscore the expertise of the aerospace industry in Wales

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British Airways Maintenance Centre
British Airways Maintenance Centre

The strength of the aviation industry in Wales will be highlighted by the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones during a series of aerospace manufacturing and maintenance visits next week (w/c 17 June 2013).

Mr Jones will underline the critical role that the industry plays in the health of the economy – both locally and nationally – when he visits the British Airways Maintenance Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan (17 June) ahead of his visit to the 50th International Paris Air Show later in the week (20 June).

The visits come in the months after the launch of the aerospace industrial strategy –a long-term strategic partnership between government and the aerospace industry. The strategy sets out a plan which will consolidate the UK’s position at the forefront of world aerospace manufacturing, tackling barriers for growth, boosting export opportunities and increasing the high value of aerospace jobs across the country.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:

Aerospace is one of our most important manufacturing industries, with Britain leading the way in Europe. The sector contributes a huge £24billion to the economy every year, includes 3,000 companies and supports 230,000 jobs across the country.

Wales and its highly skilled workforce already play an integral role in this success. From the production of Airbus wings at Broughton to the servicing of giant aircraft engines at GE Aviation in Nantgarw, the breadth of expertise in Wales is exceptional.

With the right actions by Government and industry the UK can realistically build on its strong position to secure jobs, and generate significant UK economic value from major manufacturing programmes.

Mr Jones will begin his schedule of visits in support of the industry at British Airways Maintenance Centre (BAMC) – a dedicated service and maintenance facility for BA’s fleet of Boeing aircraft located at Cardiff Airport. He will tour the three-bay hangar and support workshops, and meet Bill Kelly, General Manager Heavy Maintenance at British Airways Engineering.

Mr Kelly said:

We are extremely proud of our engineering operations in South Wales. We employ more than 1,400 highly skilled people across three world-class facilities, and are committed to ensuring the continued success of the aviation sector in the region.

Later in the week, Mr Jones will meet key players in the global aviation industry at the International Paris Air Show.

The airshow, which will be held at Le Bourget exhibition centre, is one of the world’s most iconic global aviation events and a showcase for British engineering and technology.

The Welsh Secretary’s itinerary will focus on visits to companies with strong Welsh links, including Airbus, who recently announced that it will create 3,000 jobs in 2013, with 300 of them at their UK operations in Broughton and Bristol. On Friday 14 June, the company saw the new long-haul carrier A350XWB, with wings made in North Wales, make its maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac airport.*

Between 2011 and 2012 Airbus hired nearly 10,000 people globally with the net creation of 7,000 jobs. They now employ more than 59,000 people, including 6,000 in North Wales.

Tom Williams, Executive Vice President for programmes and senior UK representative for Airbus said:

The UK has the second largest aerospace sector in the world, and Airbus’ supply chain is worth around £2bn to the UK economy.

Airbus is a key partner in the Aerospace Growth Partnership which brings government and industry together to secure the long-term future of the UK aerospace sector to ensure we collectively utilise our full technological capacity. We also welcome the government’s support for this growing sector through the Aerospace Technology Institute, a £2bn investment to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of technology and development and Airbus is a major partner in this.

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones added:

The Paris Air Show provides the global platform for the best in cutting edge British industry as well as giving an international stage for the Welsh aviation sector to display its wares to the world.

As a nation, we display our particular strengths in the manufacturing and maintenance of some of the most complex parts of an aircraft. Indeed, half of the world’s modern large aircraft fly on Airbus wings, designed and manufactured in Wales.

The UK aerospace sector is a successful, high value, high technology engineering, manufacturing and service industry, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to focus my attention on this important industry next week.

Mr Jones’s Paris airshow itinerary will also include visits to BAE Systems, Raytheon, EADS, Babcock, Thales, Hawker Beechcraft, SAAB and GE (UK), all of which have significant Welsh interests.

Notes to Editors:

For further information or interview opportunities with the Secretary of State, please contact Lynette Bowley at the Wales Office on 029 2092 4204 / lynette.bowley@walesoffice.gsi.gov.uk

*Maiden flight of A350XWB confirmed at time of press notice distribution.

For further information on the Paris Air Show, visit link text or follow @salondubourget on Twitter

The air show runs from 17 – 23 June 2013.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg launched the ambitious vision for a long-term government and aerospace industry partnership at the Airbus site in Bristol on 14 March.

Lifting Off: Implementing the Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace can be found at the following {link text](https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lifting-off-implementing-the-strategic-vision-for-uk-aerospace)

Published 17 June 2013