BURNLEY aerospace giant Aircelle has won a multi-million pound contract to supply parts for a new passenger jet, securing 900 jobs.

Bosses confirmed that the company has been selected to provide engine housings for the newly-launched Airbus A330 ‘neo’ jetliner.


Production work on the casings, called 'nacelles', which hold the engines, fuel or equipment on the new-generation craft, will be carried out at the company's Burnley plant and at Le Havre,France, and Casablanca, Morocco.

And company chiefs say the deal should create even more jobs to add to the 900-strong workforce in Burnley as the new programme will run until 2030.

Aircelle is already the central partner in the new aerospace supplier village, known as Innovation Drive, on the former Michelin site, which is currently taking shape.

Steve Rumbelow, chief executive at Burnley Council, said: “A few years ago Airbus were considering consigning this plane to the scrap heap, but the airlines have said they liked it and Airbus have made improvements to it. That gives Aircelle the long-term boost and security now.

“It also shows that Burnley really is a manufacturing hub and it’s brilliant news for the area.”

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “They’ve got to virtually double production. It’s fantastic news.

“Burnley is the centre of aerospace excellence and Aircelle is the leader of that. They are a fantastic company, really hi-tech and forward thinking.”

Coun Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Councill, said: “‘It’s wonderful news for the town. Anything that secures jobs, and high-level manufacturing jobs at that, is excellent.

“It can only help cement Burnley’s place as a centre of excellent when it comes to advanced manufacturing.

“Hopefully this can also have knock-on effects down the supply chain and at Innovation Drive, which will boost the wider economy as well.”

Several deals being hammered out at the Farnborough air show this week should provide knock-on benefits in relation to the Airbus-Aircelle tie-up.

Aircelle chairman Martin Sion said: "This is another endorsement of our company's role as a world-leading engine nacelle supplier and provides an important addition to our product line, which covers everything from business jets and regional passenger aircraft to jetliners."

The company has long been an Airbus partner, providing nearly 1,400 nacelles, including thrust reversers, for a range of A330 models with Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines since the 1990s.

One major deal signed for the Airbus A330 neo should see 50 liners delivered to low-cost specialists Air Asia X, with the first deliveries expected in 2018.

Management at Rolls Royce, which has a 1,000-strong operation at Barnoldswick, also welcomed the Air Asia deal, which will use their Trent 700 engines.

Rolls Royce officials said no decision had been taken yet on whether the work would be allocated to their Bankfield or Ghyll Brow sites in West Craven.

Other provisional deals for the A330 neo include an order for 25 from Los Angeles based Air Lease Corporation and a further 15 from Dublin's Avolon, another leasing company.