A BUSINESS leader has welcomed news that a manufacturing firm which is “crucial” to Flintshire’s economy has confirmed its commitment to the UK.

The Leader reported last year how Airbus warned it could pull out of the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs if Britain were to crash out of the EU without a deal.

During a reception last week, in addition to congratulating the firm’s new head of the Broughton plant - Jerome Blandin - the company’s CEO Guillaume Faury looked ahead and spoke of partnership.

He said: “Airbus is committed to the UK and we are committed to working with the new Government to be a key partner to an ambitious industrial strategy.

“I believe, in fact I’m convinced, that the UK will remain committed to Airbus.

“Indeed, we continuously need your support to grow and to be successful in the global market.”

Speaking of the success of Airbus Helicopters over the last year, he also said the company sees “great potential to expand and improve” its operations in the UK in 2020.

Askar Sheibani, managing director and CEO of Comtek Network Systems, and chairman of Deeside Business Forum (DBF), told the Leader: “Airbus is the number one producer of passenger aircraft in the world.

“I think this puts a huge amount of pressure on them not to reduce their ability, skills or resources.

“I don’t think they’re going to take the risk because it is in their global market advantage to keep these skills and resources in place in order to produce these aircraft.”

Speaking of the importance of Airbus to Flintshire and the wider North Wales region, he continued: “It is as important as having the steel here - if it goes, it will be a disaster for this area.

“It is essential - crucial - that we maintain this organisation here.

“It is a global name which is not only creating jobs - a large number of suppliers around here provide parts and services to Airbus.

“And when we’re talking to investors we say ‘look, Airbus has chosen us for a reason’. We can provide high skilled people and dedicated, loyal workforces”.

Asked what he thinks needs to happen next, Mr Sheibani said: “Our Government has a large majority.

“They need to use that majority to bring about the best possible deal in which there’s free trade with no barriers so we can all trade without hindrance.

“If we can achieve that, it will be amazing for the area, the country and for the EU. I am optimistic about this.”

Shadow Minister for North Wales, Mark Isherwood AM, also welcomed the comments by Guillaume Faury, adding: “This is great news for North Wales, [it] proves the value and quality of the workforce in and around Broughton, and is a vindication of Boris’s stance on Brexit.

“Wales – and the rest of the UK – is a hive of aerospace and tech industries, and this commitment is further evidence of this.”