Airbus lands £5bn order - safeguarding hundreds of Bristol jobs
HUNDREDS of jobs have been safeguarded in Bristol after plane manufacturer Airbus landed yet another multi-million contract.
The firm, which directly employs 4,000 staff at its factory in Filton, has signed a deal worth an estimated £5 billion with Philippine Airlines.
And according to industry experts the company is on the brink of signing a second massive deal which would be worth an estimated £10 billion.
Airbus has just enjoyed its best 12 months to date and there is no sign of the demand for its planes slowing down any time soon.
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The company, which indirectly supports another 5,000 jobs in the Bristol area, has established itself as the biggest aeroplane manufacturer in the world in the past two years outstripping its American rival Boeing.
A major part of the success has been linked to the popularity of the new generation of Airbus planes which have been designed to be more fuel efficient.
The work to upgrade the A320 was carried out at Filton and has made the plane the most popular commercial plane in the history of the aviation industry.
The order with Philippine Airlines, the country's national carrier, was announced yesterday. The airline has ordered a total of 50 aircraft in a deal that could be worth as much as £5 billion.
The new orders will more than double the airline's fleet from only 39 planes to close to 90 in the space of less than five years. It is a sign of the strength of the market and the economy in the Far East.
Air travel is still growing at 16 per cent a year in the Philippines and the airline has been struggling to keep pace with demand.
"The orders we are placing with Airbus will play a key role in revitalising our airline and growing trade and tourism in the country," said chairman Ramon S Ang.
The order include 34 A321ceo, ten A321neo and ten A330-300s. Deliveries are due to start in just over a year's time.
John Leahy, above, who negotiated the deal on behalf of Airbus, added: "We are extremely pleased that Philippine Airlines has placed its confidence in our aircraft to meet its future requirements.
"This announcement demonstrates once again the popularity of both the A320 Family and the A330, which remain the leaders in their size categories in terms of operating economics, reliability and passenger comfort."
According to reports Boeing was also lobbying for the contract but was pipped at the post by its industry rival.
And confidence is growing that Airbus is close to landing an order of 100 planes from China in a deal which would be the biggest of the year in the industry.
Fabrice Bregier, the recently appointed boss of Airbus, is in China this week along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of a state visit.
Airbus already has an assembly factory in the country and has been negotiating with the Chinese government.
The factory was opened two years ago and is now manufacturing around 100 aircraft a year for the Far East market.
A large Chinese government order for Airbus A320s would represent a marked change in relations with the West and the EU in particular.
China recently joined India and the US in protesting against European Union plans to include airlines in its carbon market from this year.
A spokesman for Airbus said the company is "optimistic" about securing the deal.
Tom Enders, chief executive of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, has also travelled to China with the top level trade delegation to take part in the negotiations.