The development is being supported by four partner nations: the UK, France, Germany and Spain. France announced support of €1.4 billion for the A350 XWB programme on 15 June, while Germany has proposed support in principle of €1.1 billion. The Spanish government is still in discussion with Airbus.
The UK money, drawn partially from the government’s £750 million Strategic Investment Fund, will enable Airbus to build its position in wing, landing gear and fuel integration systems technologies. Through increased use of advanced composite materials in the construction of the wing and other parts of the aircraft, the A350XWB will be lighter, delivering environmental benefits, including around 15 per cent reductions in CO2 emissions.
This GBP 340 million of support follows on from a commitment to provide £60 million for GKN to design and develop the rear spar and trailing edge of the A350 XWB.
Government investment takes the form of risk-sharing participation in the design and development of specific civil aerospace projects in the UK. The money is not a grant and is repayable at a real rate of return. Such funding is available only to the aerospace sector and stems from the provisions of the Civil Aviation Act 1982.