British Aerospace is considering moving its Raytheon subassembly work at Chester to its regional jet site at Prestwick. Such a move would create extra room for increased Airbus production and keep the Scottish site in work.
BAe makes the wing and fuselage of Raytheon’s Hawker business jet under a five-year subcontract deal. But it is considering plans to clear factory space for a 45% increase in Airbus wingsets this year, from 126 to 183 aircraft.
BAe’s Prestwick regional jet facility has spare capacity because of a slim order book, precipitated by competition from cheaper foreign aircraft.
Jetstream production of aircraft has dropped from a high of 30 aircraft to this year’s 10. In the past 12 months the factory’s workforce has fallen from 2,000 to 1,500Raytheon subassembly work would primarily benefit BAe’s Aerostructures business which makes parts for Jetstream and others.
BAe is also considering deploying work on Nimrod to the Scottish factory.
`We have made it very clear that the Jetstream programme is under review because the market is oversupplied,’ said BAe. `We expect to make a decision in the next two or three months.’
Raytheon said it hoped that moving work to Prestwick would not affect the potential for transferring staff between the two companies or the quality of the work on the Hawkers.