A330 jet lands at Airbus in Broughton to thank workers
The Airbus A330 touched down at Broughton this week to pay thanks to all the employees who have made hitting the 1,000th delivery of the aircraft earlier this year possible.
The aircraft visited the wing-making site on Monday afternoon and enjoyed a short stay before taking off in front of crowds the following day. The visit was part of a European tour which saw the plane stop off at each of the sites on the production line.
Joining the crew of five on board were around two dozen Broughton employees who were offered a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit the other factories and see how each of the aircraft’s components is put together.
Paul McKinlay, head of plant at Broughton, believes it is important for staff to see how their efforts piece together and that they are thanked for all their hard work.
He said: “Employee recognition for me is critical.
“The employees are building wings day in day out, particularly for the A330, the thousandth of which was delivered to customers recently.
“Its great for the employees to see the final fruits of their labour, to see the finished wing on the aircraft, to see it land at their site, to see it take off and to see what they have actually produced.
“A couple of our employees here at Broughton will join the flight, which will go on to visit to other sites in the company as a recognition of their efforts.
“I think it’s really important for all of our employees here to see what they make and see what a great job they do.
“The design element is really important and we were delighted to be able to celebrate with everyone on Tuesday.”
Flight times of the Airbus Beluga will be extended as of November this year.
As it stands the aircraft, which transports wings from the Broughton plant to its sister site in Toulouse, France, operates from 6.30am-9pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8.30am-4pm at weekends.
The new schedule will see the Beluga extend its service hours until midnight during the week, but its weekend operating times will remain the same.
The announcement was made to residents at the Broughton and Bretton Comcouncil meeting on Tuesday night.
Representatives from Airbus explained that flights past 9pm will be kept to a minimum and that it was unlikely there would be more than one movement – take off or landing – a week during the later hours.
A spokesperson for Airbus said: “Due to our strong order book, we need to increase all Beluga flights across Europe to accommodate our business demands and meet our delivery deadlines to our customers. In line with all other Airbus sites, operating hours at Broughton will need to be extended .
“We are writing to residents living nearby in the coming days but have contacted the elected community representatives first via this public forum.
“There will be less than one movement per week outside the current hours – it is a window of possible operation and flights after 9pm will be kept to a minimum.
“This extension in operating hours does not mean that the late night flights are guaranteed frequently, but our air transport operations are sometimes impacted by inclement weather or other factors outside our control.
“The only aircraft that will operate outside the current hours is the Beluga and the police operation. No other aircraft will be permitted to use the airfield outside the current restrictions.”
Airbus is currently investing in a new sheltered loading bay for the Beluga which will allow the opening of its cargo bay door regardless of strong winds.
The company has also invested in snow blowers which kept the runway open during this year’s snow and helped avoid irregular hours’ operations.
There are five Belugas in operation and they are based in Toulouse.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is celebrating after welcoming 80 new apprentices to its team.
In addition to the fresh intake, a further 30 existing Airbus staff are being given the opportunity to further their career by embarking on apprenticeships in a bid to upskill from their current roles.
The Broughton plant, which produces the wings for the entire Airbus family, has taken on 56 apprentices and 11 engineering graduates.
The lucky candidates will spend the next three years developing their skills at Airbus whilst studying on either an Undergraduate Apprenticeship – which leads to a BEng with Honours in Aeronautical Engineering, a Higher Supply Chain Logistics apprenticeship or Craft Apprenticeship.
Around 60 people have also begun paid internships with Airbus which cover a diverse selection of roles from engineering to human resources and finance.
Head of Airbus early careers programme Gary Griffiths, said: “The aerospace sector is constantly moving forward, so developing new skills and talent for our own business is a very sound investment.”
Paul McKinlay, head of Airbus, explained the different apprentice programmes Airbus offers the benefits to learning on the job.
He said: “Its been a special week for us with the A330 visit and the start of our latest batch of apprentices.
“We have nearly 60 starting here at Broughton in engineering, design and production disciplines which is fantastic and shows what we are thinking about the future and the strength of the site.
“We have quite a unique offering in the market place which is effectively an engineering undergraduate apprenticeship meaning that people who undertake that process complete their apprenticeship with an honours degree in engineering.
“It’s a unique opportunity to experience the industry, learn about the industry, be paid and at the same time complete the programme with an honours degree.
“If I compare that to someone going to university who is potentially going to build up debts, we believe we have a really unique offering here in Broughton and here in the UK.”
He added: “Anybody who secures a place on that apprenticeship has done extremely well.
“We are constantly looking for individuals who give their best, and see the apprenticeships not only as a way of securing their degree or qualification, but as the start of a career and who will take every opportunity that Airbus will offer them to further their career with the company.”