A major new investment in Britain's aerospace industry - much of it based here in the West - was announced today.
The Deputy PM Nick Clegg is in the west country to announce a £2 billion investment in the aerospace industry
Defence contractor BAE Systems has confirmed it's in talks over a potential merger with the parent company of Bristol-based Airbus.
The latest version of the Airbus has made its first visit to Britain and touched down at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire as part of routine certification tests.
The new Airbus A350 XWB was flown by London-born experimental test pilot, Frank Chapman, and is one of the four A350 test aircraft currently flying and undergoing rigorous testing before entry into service later this year. Captain Chapman said:
“The A350 XWB has significant UK input, as the wings and fuel systems are designed at the Airbus facilities in Filton, Bristol and assembled at the Broughton plant in North Wales, the engines are made by Rolls-Royce in Derby and the landing gear by Messier-Bugatti-Dowty in Gloucestershire.”
“This visit is part of the aircraft’s certification. Experts from the nearby Airbus Filton facility are playing a key role in supporting the fuel system tests.
“I’m immensely proud to be flying the first A350 XWB to land in the UK and look forward to this aircraft being a regular feature in British skies over the coming years.”
Airbus, whose planes' wings are designed in Filton near Bristol, delivered a record number of aircraft in 2013.
The company, whose planes include the world's largest passenger aircraft, the A380 superjumbo, delivered 626 planes in 2013.
These included 25 superjumbos, with the overall total surpassing the previous record figure of 588 achieved in 2012.
A total of 93 customers received Airbus planes last year, including 15 who were taking delivery of an Airbus aircraft for the first time.
Despite a record year, Airbus just failed to deliver more aircraft than rival US company Boeing which earlier this month announced it had delivered 648 planes in 2013.
The Boeing figure, also a record and 7.8% up on the 2012 total, was achieved despite problems with the Seattle-based company's ultra-green 787 Dreamliner model.
Jobs at the Airbus base in Filton have been secured with the news Emirates Airlines is to buy 50 Airbus A380 super jumbos.
David Cameron was at the Dubai air show to hear the news and on his return said the deal is a vote of confidence in the workforce.
The Prime Minister has welcomed Emirates Airlines £15 billion pound spending spree at Airbus as a a "great day for the British aerospace industry."
The Dubai based airline has placed an order for the super jumbos, whose wings are designed at Filton near Bristol.
The Duke of Gloucester is due to open a restored building in South Gloucestershire that played a key role in the history of aerospace.
Pegasus House in Filton was the original headquarters of the Bristol Aeroplane company. It hosted visits from royalty and even Cary Grant before it went out of use in the 1990s. It will house 300 Airbus staff after being renovated as part of a £70m investment programme.
Today's event will have a 1930s feel to it, celebrating the history of the building.
Bristol-based Airbus is to benefit from a record-breaking order by the International Airlines Group, worth nearly £5billion.
The Group, which owns British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia, has placed an order for 220 of the A320 Neo aircraft.
The wings and fuel system are mostly designed and researched at the Airbus site in Filton.
The first test flight of the new Airbus A350 airliner takes place this morning [Friday] at Toulouse in France. Much of it was designed at Filton near Bristol.
Employees who helped to build the state-of-the-art aircraft will be able to watch the take-off live on giant screens at their site.