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Airbus A350

Volume 495: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the effect that provision of launch aid expenditure on the Airbus A350 would have on the UK aerospace industry; (281873)

(2) what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the provision of EU launch aid for the Airbus A350; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 23 June 2009]: As part of our usual due diligence process when considering launch investment requests, the Government have carried out a detailed assessment of the possible provision of support to Airbus for the A350 XWB aircraft. This includes detailed analysis of the company's business case, technical viability of the project, the potential market, and anticipated benefits to the UK aerospace industry and the wider economy. As a result of this analysis we are proceeding with negotiations with the company.

At the Paris Air Show, on 15 June, the Minister for Science and Technology held discussions with his equivalent Ministers from France and Germany as part of the regular Airbus ministerial meetings held at the major European air shows. These discussions included financing arrangements for the A350 XWB on which the UK, French, German and Spanish Governments are in separate negotiations with Airbus. The Minister for Science and Technology confirmed the UK's commitment to Airbus and the A350 XWB programme and confirmed our aim to complete negotiations for support in the coming weeks.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) when he expects the decision to be taken on whether to provide launch aid funding for Airbus A350; (282165)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of jobs in the UK which the allocation of launch aid funding for the Airbus A350 would (a) create and (b) secure.

The Department is in negotiations with Airbus over support for the A350 XWB programme. We would aim to complete these within the next few weeks; however this is subject to reaching satisfactory agreement with the company.

The long term nature of this project, and the fact that negotiations are still continuing, make it hard to be precise about the numbers of UK-based jobs that will be created directly within Airbus and within the A350 XWB supply chain. However, our assessment is that the programme will provide significant employment opportunities as well as generating skills and expertise that will help keep the UK at the forefront of aerospace technology.