A SENIOR minister has warned of "economic devastation" for areas surrounding Airbus' Flintshire facilities, after the company announced 1,700 potential job losses in the UK.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Airbus confirmed the "adaption" of its workforce in response to the covid-19 crisis could see the reduction of 15,000 jobs globally.

Unite Wales has warned the threat to the UK jobs could have a huge impact at the company's flagship site at Broughton.

Following the announcement, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates spoke of his serious concerns over the impact it could have.

"Airbus employs some 6000 highly skilled, well -paid people at Broughton and was the cornerstone of the high value manufacturing in Wales," he said.

"Indications at the turn of this year were that 2020 looked to be very promising for the company.

"Monthly production of the A320 was set to be ramped up and the order backlog stood at 7,482 commercial aircraft, with demand forecast to rise.

"However, in stark contrast, the Airbus order book has been eroded as demand for new aircraft has fallen and production rates have dropped by 30 per cent.

"Airbus is now fighting for survival and has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

"This adaptation is expected to result in a global reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than Summer 2021, with 1,700 of these in the UK.

"This restructuring will predominately impact on two sites only – Broughton in Deeside and Filton in Bristol.

"I cannot stress enough the existential crisis the sector is facing – one which could result in economic devastation in those constituencies surrounding the Broughton and Deeside facilities and the neighbouring areas of North West England.

"I would also wish you to be aware that we have identified 150 suppliers employing circa 1500 staff who will almost certainly be affected by today’s announcement.

"The Broughton site has already put some 500 Guidant agency staff under notice of redundancy and furloughed some 3,200 core staff.

"It is clear that we need to take immediate action to safeguard the position and wellbeing of the airbus workforce and supply chain.

"We also need to focus on doing everything in our power to secure a sustainable future for the aerospace and high value manufacturing sectors.

"Work has already started between industry fora, partners within the Mersey Dee area and my officials, to understand the specific needs of companies within the aerospace supply chain.

"I have asked for this work to be expedited and also replicated for the automotive sector – my aim is to ensure as robust an understanding as possible of needs and opportunities so that any support provided is targeted and delivers maximum impact over the short, medium and long term.

"In the longer term, I will be convening, within the next three weeks, a high-level summit to discuss the future of aerospace, automotive and wider high value manufacturing sector in the context of Brexit and net zero carbon."