Airbus has formally inaugurated the A350 plant at Broughton in the UK, which will manufacture wings for the twinjet family.

The North Factory facility was opened during a ceremony attended by UK prime minister David Cameron.

Cameron said the Airbus investment "underlines its confidence in the expertise" within the UK and the country's manufacturing base.

Construction began in 2008 and investment in the new plant will total €450 million. The facility is 23m tall and has a volume of over 1 million m³.

Initially it will produce wings for the A350-900 and subsequently for the shrink -800 and larger -1000 variants.

Airbus chief Tom Enders said the opening was an "important milestone" for the A350 ahead of final assembly.

It complements the West Factory at which wings for the Airbus A380 are produced.

Among the plant's features are a wood pellet biomass boiler with 830,000kWh annual output, solar tracking arrays and a solar water-heating system providing up to 30% of its hot water.

Broughton employs some 6,000 permanent and temporary personnel, and 650 will work in the new facility.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news