British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed a multibillion-pound contract between Airbus and Rolls-Royce to sell new aircraft to Air India on Tuesday as a “watershed moment” for the country’s aerospace sector and reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening ties with India.
The three businesses announced the arrangement, which involves the Tata Group-owned Indian carrier purchasing 250 planes, during the current Aero India 2023 conference in Bengaluru.
According to the UK government, the agreement would create highly skilled employment in Wales and Derbyshire in eastern England, boosting exports and the economy.
“This landmark deal between Air India, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky is the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector,” Sunak said.
“It will create better-paying 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.” “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 said.
According to Downing Street, a large portion of the new aircraft’s manufacturing will take place in the United Kingdom.
The wings will be developed in Filton and constructed in Broughton, bringing 450 new manufacturing jobs and more than £100 million in investment to Wales.
“This is a significant win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one that will help secure thousands of highly skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth,” said UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
“It’s a shot in the arm for UK exports as we aim to sell GBP 1 trillion of goods and services a year to the world by the end of the decade. We’re currently negotiating a trade deal with India that could boost trade by up to GBP 28 billion a year by 2035. “Export wins like this are another big step towards our nations forming a closer trading relationship,” she said.
The huge A350 aircraft delivered are powered only by Rolls-Royce XWB engines manufactured and tested in Derby, England.
“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 $29.6 billion trading relationship,” Downing Street said.
According to official data for 2021, the UK’s aerospace sector is a major contributor to the country’s economy, adding GBP 10.6 billion in value to the UK economy, exporting 70% of its domestic production, and directly employing 111,000 highly skilled workers.