GKN takes over at Filton

GKN has officially taken ownership and operational control of Airbus’ wing manufacturing facility following European regulatory approval. The Filton site, near Bristol, produces the leading and trailing edges for the A330, A340 and A380 wings.

It comes after a long awaited deal between the two was struck last autumn. But for the 1500 shop floor staff, there will be little immediate change. Frank Bamford, senior vice president for business development and strategy at GKN Aerospace said: “Apart from the rebranding that has happened around the site, it will be business as usual for the guys around the site.” The site will gradually see a migration towards composite manufacture. As part of the deal it will produce composite rear spars and trailing edges for the new A350XWB, and plans to produce the first units in the second quarter of 2010. Chief executive of GKN Aerospace Marcus Bryson said: “The investment will give us a broader spectrum of our technology and the way we are going to use composites. The A350XWB will tee-up the business to be a major player when either Boeing or Airbus come forward with a next generation single isle.” GKN has ambitious plans to grow the sites manufacturing capability and has said it plans to introduce third party manufacturing work in to the site this year. It already manufactures for a number of OEM’s and says the acquisition balances its North American and European projects as well as work between the civil and military sectors.