‘Sky is the limit’: Why UK is excited about Airbus, Rolls-Royce deal with Air India

The large A350 aircraft are exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby

New Delhi | Updated: 16 February, 2023 11:13 am IST

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch have welcomed a “momentous deal” for Airbus and Rolls-Royce to provide new aircraft for Air India. “The agreement announced by the companies on Tuesday will support and create new highly skilled jobs in Wales and Derbyshire, helping to boost exports, grow the economy and level up the UK,” said a press statement posted on the on the UK Department of Trade and Industry website.

“A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK. The wings will be designed in Filton, and assembled in Broughton – which is expected to bring an additional 450 manufacturing jobs and more than £100m of investment to Wales. The large A350 aircraft are exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby,” the statement said.

On the matter of Free Trade Agreement, the release said India is a major economic power, projected to be the world’s third largest economy with a quarter of a billion middle class consumers by 2050. “We are currently negotiating a free trade agreement that would boost our £34 billion trading relationship,” it said.

Sunak called the deal “landmark” which would demonstrate that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector. “It will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can grow the economy and support our agenda to level up – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country,” said Sunak.

“The UK is already a top investment destination, and by building trade ties with growing economic powers like India we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation,” he added.

“This is a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one which will help to secure thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth. It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell £1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade,” said Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

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