Airbus in the United Kingdom

The UK is at the forefront of Airbus’ global strategy and plays a leading role in terms of innovation and customer focus.The company is the second-largest aerospace and defence investor in R&D and the third-largest aerospace and defence employer in the country.

One of Airbus' core countries

Interview with Paul Kahn, President of Airbus UK


Strong presence in the United Kingdom

The UK is one of Airbus’ four home markets. Building on a proud 100-year British heritage and with a 15,000-strong workforce, the Company is firmly rooted in the UK’s advanced technology industrial base.

Each of our three Divisions – Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters – leads their market in the UK, relying on diverse skills and facilities that can only be found in Britain, in multiple locations that stretch the length and breadth of the UK, from Aberdeen to Portsmouth.

Innovation is part of the comoany's DNA, spending £500 million a year in research and technology in the UK and sustaining collaboration agreements with more than 20 British universities. Innovation drives technology, and technology is what makes us global leaders in aerospace and defence.

The company is driven by a strong family of companies united by a common brand. Airbus, the largest UK commercial aerospace company and biggest civil aerospace exporter, designs and builds all Airbus aircraft wings in the UK.

Airbus Defence and Space is the UK’s largest space company and leading commercial provider of military satellite communications, the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the RAF and a worldleader in cyber security.

As Britain’s civil helicopter hub, Airbus Helicopters holds 55% of the UK’s offshore oil and gas helicopter fleet at Aberdeen, the world’s busiest rotary wing airport and is a key supplier of military helicopters to the Ministry of Defence – indeed Airbus Helicopters has provided the UK armed forces with helicopter training for more than 30 years.

Your Life and WISE campaigns

15,000 employees

work for Airbus in the UK

Airbus is an active supporter of a number of skills and diversity efforts, including the Government-led Your Life and WISE campaigns, as well as initiatives by the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Airbus also directly provides 6 scholarships, called the TechMasters, worth £5,000 each per year, dedicated to supporting students in the UK studying for a Masters degree in aerospace-related areas.

Recruitment of apprentices and graduates with The 5% Club

We are also a proud member of The 5% Club, a campaign focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the UK workforce. By joining the club, we have committed to the aim of ensuring that 5% of our UK workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.

To find out more information and know how to become a member, please visit The 5% Club website  or get in touch by emailing

Airbus wing with UK flag
Airbus has a strong presence throughout the UK with facilities at 32 locations, from Aberdeen to Portsmouth.

Airbus: a rich aeronautical tradition

Assembly of the wings for all Airbus civil aircraft take place at the Broughton site.

The Airbus sites at Filton, near Bristol, and Broughton, north Wales, design, test and manufacture the wings for all Airbus commercial aircraft. Around 10,000 jobs are sustained directly by Airbus wing work and a further 100,000 jobs are supported indirectly through an extended supply chain of 1,000 companies.

Broughton has a proud tradition of aerospace manufacturing going back three-quarters of a century, producing aviation classics like De Havilland’s Comet and Mosquito. The site employs more than 6,000 people, primarily in manufacturing but also in engineering and support functions such as procurement and finance. Airbus has invested more than £1.9 billion in the Broughton plant over the past 15 years.

1,000 wings

Over 1,000 wings are produced every year at the Airbus site in Broughton

Meanwhile, over 4,000 people work at the Filton site, which is also responsible for wing assembly and equipping the A400M multi-role airlifter. Core activities at Filton include the design, engineering and support for Airbus wings, fuel systems and landing gear integration. Teams also work on systems, structures and aerodynamics research, development and test facilities.

Airbus Defence and Space: communications, intelligence and systems integration

Known as 'Voyager' in the UK, the A330 MRTT refuels aircraft such as the Eurofighter.

As the largest space company in Europe and an integral part of the £9 billion UK space sector, Airbus Defence and Space designs and manufactures advanced satellites and systems for telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and science programmes, while all UK TV is broadcast by satellites built by Airbus Defence and Space.

Airbus Defence and Space in the UK also specialises in the design and manufacture of scientific, navigation and Earth observation spacecraft. Key programmes include leading Solar Orbiter the £250m European Space
Agency (ESA) mission to study the Sun, the scientific mission LISA Pathfinder to prove the technology to discover gravitational waves, and the Sentinel 5P and Aeolus, Earth observation satellites. It is also home to the ESA ExoMars rover mission which is Europe’s first rover to another planet. Due for launch in 2019 it will search for life on the Red Planet.

A total of 3,700 people, based at Portsmouth and Stevenage, support the UK’s military satellite communications services to the UK armed forces, including mobile voice, video, internet and broadcast communications. Delivered through the Skynet 5 constellation, these services also meet the needs of other military and government users including NATO.

As the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the RAF, Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the delivery, through AirTanker, of Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA). A total of 14 A330 MRTT ‘Voyager’ aircraft will provide the RAF with 21st-century tanker and transport capability. 

Airbus Defence and Space has also developed the world record breaking Zephyr, a solar powered High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). In February 2016, the UK Ministry of Defence placed an order for two solar-powerd Airbus Zephyr 8s.

Cyber security hub

£9 billion

The space sector contributes £9 billion (€11.3) to the UK economy annually

At its site in Newport, south Wales, Airbus Defence and Space specialises in secure information services, cyber solutions and the security of critical infrastructure in the UK, which includes cyber security for Parliament and for 90% of Ministry of Defence networks.

Our Ectocryp encryption technology has been dubbed ‘Enigma for the 21st century’ and we are key partners in government and NATO-led information infrastructure programmes. The site is also home to a global centre of excellence in emergency response solutions and leads the world in simulation, architectures and virtual reality techniques for network-centric operations.

The UK is one of 7 partner nations behind the A400M and has ordered 22 units.

Airbus Helicopters: UK market leader

Airbus Helicopters accounts for around 75% of the UK’s police helicopter fleet.

Present in the UK for over 40 years, Airbus Helicopters’ UK headquarters in Oxfordshire is Britain’s civil helicopter hub, from where the company provides the country’s premium rotary wing aircraft solutions. 

From its sites in Aberdeen, Belfast, Hawarden and Oxford, Airbus Helicopters provides design, manufacturing, customer support, maintenance and training.  The company accounts for around 75% of the country’s police helicopter fleet, 60% of the air ambulance fleet and 50% of the overall UK civil helicopter fleet.

Airbus Helicopters is also an important supplier to the UK armed forces, with 100 helicopters in service with the Ministry of Defence. These include dedicated helicopters for operations across the globe including Puma 2, the workhorse of the RAF and one of the most successful defence helicopter programmes in the UK. Last but not least, every UK military helicopter pilot of the last 35 years has been trained on an Airbus Helicopters aircraft.

Furthermore, in November 2015, Airbus Helicopters commenced its first ever UK R&D projects. The two UK Government-funded studies comprise rotor blade
research and light armour development.

5% club, Queen’s Award for Excellence and Armed Forces Covenant