A total of £48 million is being invested at the Airbus plant in Broughton to build a new hi-tech production line and help secure the future of thousands of jobs.
The leading aircraft manufacturer has today joined the United Kingdom and Welsh governments to announce a collaborative investment of more than £100 million in research, development and training which will ensure the UK continues to lead the world in aerospace.
At Broughton this will see work start to develop new systems and technologies for building aircraft wings with a new production line in place by July 2016.
It will ensure the plant remains ahead of global competitors and was described as one of the most important developments at the site for many years and like a football team signing a top £30m striker.
Paul McKinlay, head of the Flintshire plant, said: "This is one of the biggest announcements for many years for Broughton.
"It does not only show the commitment of the Governments to back Airbus but also commitment from Airbus for the Broughton plant.
"They are prepared to invest in our future.
"We may have a backlog of work for seven years but we cannot be complacent, we have to stay ahead of our competitors around the world and ensure this plant keeps ahead of the game and remains the place of choice for wing production.
"I always tell people here there can be no complacency because this is a shareholder led company that makes decisions based on cost and performance. We have to keep performing.
"This investment does not guarantee jobs but it does help us to secure them by keeping the plant competitive.
"To use a sporting analogy it is like signing a top £30m striker, it does not guarantee you win the league but it helps."
The production line will be for A320 and A321 wings and replace an older line.
The Welsh Government has also committed a further £8.1m over the next five years for training and upskilling of those already working in Welsh aerospace and will help train the Welsh workforce to fully exploit the investment in new technology.
The research and development elements of these projects will be carried out with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a £2 billion joint investment between industry and government aimed at developing the research and development activity necessary for the UK to win work on future aerospace programmes.
Announcing the ATI funding at the Trade and Investment Summit in Newport, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Aerospace is a real cornerstone of British business, supporting over 100,000 jobs across the UK and is worth over £27bn to our economy every year.
"With today’s investment we are backing our aerospace sector so that it continues to thrive, as key part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.”
Also speaking at the summit, Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones AM said: “Once again, this is an example of us supporting our anchor companies to succeed.
"The aerospace industry is so important to Wales and we need to make sure that the skills of our workforce move at the pace of technological development in this field."
This investment comes as Broughton celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
Airbus President and CEO, Fabrice Brégier said: “The success of Airbus relies on being an innovative company and the UK plays a pivotal role in this through its wing design and production activities.
“The British aerospace sector is a world leader and this investment by our government partners recognises the huge economic benefits of highly skilled, high value engineering.
"We have already invested significantly in our UK sites in the last decade and this announcement continues our commitment.”
Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said: “Innovation and manufacturing are at the heart of the North Wales economy and Airbus is a fantastic success story for the area.
"Today's announcement means the company can now manufacture more of the world's most technologically advanced aircraft wings right here in Wales.
“Companies like Airbus are key to the success of our long term economic plan – helping us rebalance the economy and creating jobs and prosperity for people in Wales”
Around £64 million will support research and development through the Aerospace Technology Institute on a range of projects aimed at streamlining manufacturing processes and developing new technologies.
This includes three research and development projects looking at new technologies for the next generation of wing design and manufacturing, making them more efficient and providing further environmental improvements.
Around 10,000 people work at the two Airbus plants in Filton, near Bristol and Broughton, and the UK plants are responsible for designing, testing and manufacturing the wings for the whole family of Airbus commercial airliners.
A further 100,000 people are employed through the extensive UK supply chain, which is worth around £2 billion annually to the British economy.