European planemaker Airbus has committed to the UK by announcing it will build a £70 million office facility at its plant at Filton in Bristol.
The creation of an aerospace business park will mean 2,500 of Airbus’s 4,000 engineering, design, customer support and other employees will be housed in one area. Subject to planning permission being obtained, work could start on the 12-acre site in early 2012.
The wings of Airbus aircraft, which include the world’s biggest passenger plane the Airbus A80 superjumbo, are made in the UK.
The business park announcement was welcomed by Business Secretary Vince Cable who visited Filton. He said: “This is great news for Airbus, the West Country and the UK economy. Aerospace is a UK success that we should be very proud of. We are number one in Europe and number two in the world with a 17% global market share.
“Airbus and its supply chain provide goods and services worth nearly uffe11.5 billion annually to the UK economy and provide over 135,000 direct and indirect jobs. This new campus in Filton will help secure thousands of advanced engineering in the South West which is a key region for the UK aerospace industry.”
Mark Barclay, head of centre of excellence wing and pylon at Airbus, said: “This is great news. It’s a firm commitment to the South West and UK that Filton will remain the centre of excellence for aerospace.
“This will enhance the working environment for our employees, while significantly enhancing the Filton landscape.”
The site, adjacent to the A38 in Filton, has been owned by Airbus since 2004. It is expected to feature office space and an auditorium. Employees who are currently now located in many different buildings across the large Filton aerospace site will be located together on the campus, which will improve the work environment and processes for many, said Airbus.
With the budget for the project now approved, the proposal and designs will be finalised and submitted to South Gloucestershire District Council. The company will hold consultation sessions with local stakeholders in the coming months, and hopes to begin construction in early 2012, dependent on the consultation process and council approval.
Cable’s visit to the Filton site coincided with a flying visit of an A400M military transport aircraft. It is the first time the aircraft has landed at the north Bristol site where its wings are manufactured.
Graham Wood, head of the Airbus Filton Plant, said: “It’s a fabulous aircraft, and it’s flying with wings made right here in Bristol. It’s a timely reminder of what Airbus, including its UK facilities do - design and build great aircraft.”
The aircraft is an Airbus Military test aircraft called Grizzly 3. It is one of four currently flying.