A STRONG performance at a showpiece business event in the Middle East will provide a major economic boost to Flintshire.
Airbus received more than $5bn worth of orders at this year’s Dubai Air Show, eclipsing the amount i rival Boeing took.
The company announced an order for the new A350XWB twin jet and a new fuel-saving device on the best-selling A320 on the opening day of the event.
Air New Zealand will be the launch customer for 8ft tall fuel-saving wing tips that Airbus will introduce on all its A320-family jets from 2012.
The wings for the aircraft are built at the firm’s Broughton plant, which has a workforce of about 6,500.
The innovative vertical wing tips, which Airbus calls ‘sharklets’, can save airlines 4.5% in fuel costs, allowing planes to carry more passengers, Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said.
Boeing already offers wing tips on its competing 737 aircraft. But Mr Leahy dismissed those as ‘old-fashioned’ and insisted Airbus sharklets would trim a plane’s maintenance costs and carbon emissions while also enabling it to carry an additional 20 passengers for the same fuel load.
“People wonder why we didn’t bring these out years ago,” he said. “We wanted to get it right.”
Among the other contracts Airbus won was the sale of 12 A350XWB aircraft Ethiopian Airlines.
The airline will use the aircraft on routes to Europe, the USA and Asia when it receives its first aircraft in 2017.
Airbus president Tom Enders said: “The A350XWB’s extra efficiency and cabin comfort will strengthen Ethiopian Airlines’s position as a leader in African aviation. More than 500 orders from 32 customers is a clear endorsement that the A350XWB is shaping the future of air travel.”
Another order was for Air Austral’s two A380s, which will be operated from the Indian Ocean’s La Reunion island to Paris.
Dubai Air Show 2009 is being seen as a weathervane for the aviation industry.
Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami has welcomed news that Airbus is thriving.
He said: “To have achieved orders worth five times what Boeing took is an incredible achievement for Airbus and a tribute to the products.
“This is fantastic news for Broughton and the loyal workforce. Sales are better than expected and would suggest an improvement in the prospects for the aerospace industry.”