A £350 million aerospace factory built for Airbus was officially opened last week by the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP.
The 83,500 square metre (over 900,000 square feet) facility, thought to be the largest factory built in the UK in recent years, has been constructed alongside the existing Airbus factory in Broughton, North Wales.
To be known as the ‘West Factory’, it has been built to house wing assembly for the double-deck, 555 seater A380 airliner as well as other aircraft manufacturing activity.
The Prime Minister said: ‘This impressive new factory is creating 1,200 new jobs, in addition to the 5,000 already here, making a strong contribution to the local and national economy. I would like to welcome the long-term commitment Airbus is making to UK manufacturing.’
‘The A380 programme secures and generates over 100,000 long-term jobs in the UK, and around 400 UK companies have already been awarded £7.5 billion worth of work on the programme. This is set to double to £15 billion over the life of the programme,’ said Noel Forgeard, Airbus President and CEO. ‘As A380 begins to enter service with the airlines, the Airbus contribution to the UK’s balance of payments will rise to more than £1.5 billion a year.’
At more than 400 metres (1,310 feet) long, 200 metres (656 feet) wide and with a peak height of 35 metres (115 feet), the floor area of the West Factory is equivalent to 12 full size football pitches.
At peak production, 1,200 people will work at the North Wales facility, assembling and equipping wings. Once assembled, the wings will be delivered via specially commissioned barges and ships to the A380 final assembly line in Toulouse, France. At more than 36 metres long, the wings for A380 are the largest ever designed and built for a commercial aircraft.