The A350 is a joint project between the UK, France, Germany and Spain. France and Germany have both invested more than the UK, while the Spanish are in negotiations. The French-based firm has 1,200 employees in the UK, while another 3,800 UK jobs will be secured at firms that supply Airbus. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson denied the loan was a bail-out, insisting the deal was a 'first-rate investment in British engineering expertise'.
- The reaction?
The news was widely and positively covered in the UK. Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said the UK taxpayer 'can expect a sound return on their investment', while Bernie Hamilton, of Unite said: 'This safeguards thousands of jobs across the UK.' But the reaction was less euphoric across the pond. US rival Boeing called the investment 'disappointing' and the Office of the United States Trade Representative called the move 'a major step in the wrong direction'.
- Who are the PR players?
Katherine Bennett is Airbus' director of comms and government affairs in the UK. The firm also uses Merlin for corporate comms in the UK.
- What next?
The investment should secure the immediate future of UK Airbus employees and will also fund an 'important programme for the future of the UK aerospace industry', according to Ian Godden, chief executive of the Society of British Aerospace Companies. The move will be a huge boost to Airbus, which suffered negative headlines after two Airbus planes were involved in air disasters early this year.