Hundreds of highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs will be safeguarded in the South West due to a £37 million investment in a Wing Integration Centre at the Airbus site in Filton, Bristol.
The facility, announced by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, will be an advanced testing centre for large structural components and will enable Airbus and its partners to underpin the UK as one of the world’s leading aerospace sectors.
Osborne joined the Airbus’ chief executive officer Tom Williams at the Bristol site to announce the facility which he explained will develop and test aerospace technology of the future, ensuring that hundreds of highly skilled jobs remain in Britain for years to come.
He said: “When it comes to aerospace design Britain is the innovator of Europe and I want to see us going even further and becoming the global leader.
“That is why, with Airbus, we are committing £37 million for a new cutting edge research facility right here in the heart of the South West.
“Not only will the new research centre play home to some of the most exciting innovations in aerospace, for years to come it will also protect hundreds of highly skilled jobs.”
Airbus’ chief operating officer, Tom Williams said: “I would like to thank the Chancellor for visiting Filton today and making this vitally important announcement for the UK and Airbus.
“It is crucial we take the lead in developing new technology and this facility will help to shape the future of air travel for decades to come.
“This joint investment is a further boost to the Airbus site at Filton which is the global leader in design and testing of wings, fuel systems, and landing gear.”
Gary Elliott, chief executive of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “This new centre is vitally important for the UK as it secures a future wing capability for the country. As well as being a state-of-the-art test facility, this will act as a centre of excellence for the UK’s engineers who work on wing design and integration.”
Opening in 2017, the centre will initially bring together around 300 highly skilled engineers who are currently based in other areas across the Filton site.
It is estimated that the work will safeguard over 900 R&D jobs in the south-west and then up to a further 1500 manufacturing jobs in the longer term.
The funding is being awarded through the aerospace technology funding programme, and is made up of an £18.6 million government investment matched by Airbus to create the new centre.
This investment forms part of the overall £3.9 billion aerospace technology funding programme, a joint industry and government funding commitment which looks to build on the UK’s strengths and develop the products and manufacturing technologies that will best position the UK to sustain its global competitiveness.
The programme is delivered in partnership between the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.
Filton has seen significant investment in new facilities, most recently the £70 million Aerospace Park as well as other ATI-funded research projects into future technologies. A further £100 million has been invested in facilities to test aircraft systems on the Filton site.