EUROPEAN aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced plans to cut 1,600jobsinthe UK-800of them in Broughton.

The move is part of a cost-cutting scheme which will see Airbus shed 10,000 jobs in Europe over four years.

It also plans to sell off some factories,outsourcesomeproduction and set up partner-ships with other companies.

It is believed about 800 jobs - 400 staff and 400 contract jobs - will go at its wing-making plant in Broughton, which employs about 7,000 people, with the remainder in Filton, near Bristol.

They will come from voluntary and natural wastage and half will be outside contractors.

Germany will see the biggest job losses, with 3,700 to go, followed by France and Spain.

The announcement, designed to save £1.4bn a year, was made in Toulouse on Wednesday as the troubled planemaker revealed the details of its cost-reduction programme, called Power8.

Airbus has faced financial losses because of delays to the A380 superjumbo and a weak dollar and says it needs large investments for current and future programmes, in particular the A350 XWB.

The work responsibility for that aircraft will be split among the founding nations with about 35% for Germany and France, 20% for the UK and 10% for Spain.

Louis Gallois, Airbus president and chief executive officer, said: 'We have had an excellent sales and delivery performance in 2006. But our long-term future is at stake if we don't act now.' The main concern now is Broughton should not become simply an assembly plant.

Broughton union convenor Rob Dowie said: 'Unless there is composite technology winging its way to Broughton you can say it puts a question mark over the company's strategyforBroughton'slong-term future.

'We have mixed feelings (on the announcement). We were told by Louis Gallois Broughton is safe and has got 20years' workwithafive-year order book, and we will get the A350 jigs, which under-lines us as the wing-making centre of excellence.

'What is of some concern is the company initially indicated we would get some equipping work for the A350 wings, but there has been political interference and that has been moved to Germany.'

Carl Sargeant, Labour AM for Alyn and Deeside, said: 'It is hoped retirement and natural wastage will see through therestructuringprogramme at Broughton.'

Keith Hazlewood, GMB National Secretary for the aircraft manufacturing industry, said to lose another 1,600 jobs in the high-tech manufacturing sector is 'going in the wrong direction.'

He said GMB will be seeking a meeting with Secretary of State Alistair Darling and other Ministers to see what more can be done to avert the job losses.