Airbus aid creates an extra 650 jobs in north Wales

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A grant from the Welsh Assembly is to help create 650 jobs at Airbus's factory in north Wales where wings are made to meet the booming demand for the company's planes.

The £5.2m Regional Selective Assistance grant will pay for training of the new employees and other costs of expansion at the plant in Broughton, which already employs about 6,000 workers.

Airbus is increasing production volumes to meet record sales of its existing aircraft models, as well as gearing up for two new models, the A380 "super-jumbo" and the A350 aircraft that is yet to be developed.

The European company, locked in an aggressive rivalry with the American company Boeing, is now making 30 planes a month.

By the end of 2009, Airbus is hoping to have the A380 at maximum production levels.

A spokeswoman for Airbus said that without the grant, the company may have added the new jobs at another group facility.

"The availability of this grant makes a difference," she said.

The Welsh Assembly has used the RSA scheme to give grants worth more than £100m to businesses in north Wales. Politicians are particularly targeting what they see as high-growth industries.

Speaking at the Broughton facility yesterday, Andrew Davies, the Assembly's minister for economic development, said: "Internationally renowned as a manufacturing centre of excellence, Airbus UK is one of Wales's exemplar companies, a highly innovative company, working across geographical and technological boundaries to set new standards in the competitive global aerospace industry.

"I am delighted that the Assembly government has been able to support Airbus UK to create these substantial quality employment opportunities.

"Airbus UK already provides employment for many thousands of highly skilled Welsh workers.

"Today's announcement is not only a further boost for the company and the local economy, but a major vote of confidence in the Broughton workforce."