Coronavirus: Welsh aerospace sector ‘may never recover’

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Wales’ single largest aerospace employer Airbus has furloughed half its Welsh workforce

Up to 8,000 jobs could go in the aerospace sector in Wales following the coronavirus pandemic, MPs have heard.

John Whalley, from Aerospace Wales, the body representing the industry, warned the sector “may never recover to the levels we had”.

His comments came as 500 agency staff at plane maker Airbus learned they would remain on furlough – rather than be made redundant.

Airbus placed 3,200 of its staff in north Wales on furlough in April.

Speaking at the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, Mr Whalley said the industry was facing 30% cuts in staff across the entire UK.

The chief executive of Aerospace Wales said: “If you factor that across Wales – 23,000 people – that’s probably 7,000 or 8,000 jobs are going to go.”

Mr Whalley said it would take at least three years for the industry to recover, “and possibly a lot longer”.

The bleak assessment followed Airbus’s decision to furlough half its staff at its wing factory at Broughton in Flintshire at the end of last month.

About 500 people at the firm, employed by Guidant Global, had also been furloughed and then told they were at risk of redundancy.

However, the company said those affected would remain on furlough.

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