The UK has welcomed a momentous deal for Airbus and Rolls-Royce to provide new aircraft for Air India, which is worth billions of pounds to Britain.

The agreement announced by the companies this morning (Tuesday 14 February) will support and create new highly skilled jobs in Wales and Derbyshire, helping to boost exports, grow the economy and level up the UK.

A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK.

The wings will be designed in Filton, and assembled in Broughton – which is expected to bring an additional 450 manufacturing jobs and more than £100m of investment to Wales.

The large A350 aircraft are exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby.

In 2021, the UK’s world-class aerospace sector added £10.6bn in value to the UK economy, exported c.70% of its domestic output and directly employed 111,000 high-skilled people, 89% of which are outside London and the Southeast. It is also a leading sector for high value apprenticeships, with 5,500 currently employed in sector.

India is a major economic power, projected to be the world’s third largest economy with a quarter of a billion middle class consumers by 2050. We are currently negotiating a free trade agreement that would boost our £29.6 billion trading relationship.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“This landmark deal between Air India, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector.

“It will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can grow the economy and support our agenda to level up – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country.

“The UK is already a top investment destination, and by building trade ties with growing economic powers like India we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch MP added:

“This is a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one which will help to secure thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth. It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade.

“We’re currently negotiating a trade deal with India which could boost trade by up to £28 billion a year by 2035. Export wins like this are another big step to our nations forming a closer trading relationship.”

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