Airbus opens North Factory

A new 494,000 sq ft factory making carbon-fibre wings for the A350 airliner will be officially unveiled at a ceremony in Broughton, North Wales later today.

Airbus A350 wingThe new facility, called North Factory, will employ 650 staff. The A350 will have capacity for 340 passengers and id due to start flying in 2013.

The Flintshire plant is the UK's biggest manufacturing site, with 6,000 staff. Airbus said it has 550 orders for the A350. The lighter wings are expected to help the airliner generate 25% fuel efficiency savings compared to rivals. The last major investment in Broughton was the West Factory in 2003, producing wings for the Airbus A380 superjumbo.

The Welsh Government has put £29m into composite wing training and advanced manufacturing at Broughton.

Cllr Mike Jones, leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, said: "This is wonderful news for both the British aircraft industry and the North West region.

"Whilst I do not know exactly how many workers from West Cheshire depend on Airbus for their livelihood, the number could be as high as 2,000.

"Today's announcement will help to bring continued stability to the West Cheshire and North Wales areas and is particularly pleasing because these are manufacturing jobs – a priority for the sub-region."

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