MIDNIGHT flights in and out of an aerospace factory are to be introduced in November.
Airbus bosses last night outlined plans to extend operating hours at their Broughton-based plant.
Aircraft manager Paul Bostock attended a meeting of Broughton and Bretton Community Council accompanied by the company’s government affairs executive Steve Thomas and community engagement manager Judith Stringfellow.
Mr Bostock said the extra hours would only affect flights of the five Beluga aircraft and were needed to deal with increasing demand.
He said these were “exciting times” which signalled “great news” economically and in terms of employment.
He explained that thanks to a strong order book, the company needed to increase Beluga flights to meet its delivery deadlines.
Mr Bostock said from November, the current weekday operating hours of 6.30am to 9pm would extend to midnight. The new hours would provide a window of possible operation, he said, but flights after 9pm would be kept to a minimum.
But he said the company was aware the change could have an impact on the plant’s immediate neighbours and would be writing to residents in the coming weeks to outline the changes.
More than 14,000 households in Broughton, Bretton, Hawarden, Ewloe, Blacon and Saltney Ferry would receive the letters, he said, adding: “We recognise not everybody will be overjoyed.”
Cllr Sue Stevens said residents would be relieved to hear the plans were not as bad as they had feared. “They thought it was going to be through the night,” she said.
And Cllr Billy Mullin said he was pleased a letter was going out “as the one thing we don’t want is gossip”.
Mr Thomas said changes to weekend operating hours would come into effect in October 2014.
Saturday hours currently at 8.30am to 4pm would change to 6.30am to 9pm. and Sunday hours would extend to 7pm if required.
Cllr Mullin thanked Airbus staff for attending the meeting and he acknowledged the important role the company played in the local economy as well as the good relationship it shared with the community.
“The fact is we all live by an airport,” he said.