Global aerospace giant Airbus is planning to set up a specialist engineering design centre in the Midlands.
The move has been confirmed by Noel Forgeard, joint chief executive of EADS, Europe's largest aerospace company and 80 per cent owner of Airbus.
Mr Forgeard told Midlands businessmen that Airbus was attracted to the region by the region's wealth of highlyskilled engineering talent, an untapped resource for the maker of the A380 superjumbo, the world's largest airliner.
It is understood the design centre could be opened in early 2006 and fully operational by the end of the year. Airbus will be in good company.
The Midlands already is home to the R&D facilities of some of the world's leading aerospace companies, led by Derby-based Rolls-Royce, and including such names as Smiths Aerospace, Goodrich, Meggitt/Dunlop and Alstom.
The company's decision is good news for engineering and design in the Midlands, and in particular for the Midlands Aerospace Alliance(MAA), which has been working closely with Airbus on the new design centre project, together with the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and East Midlands Development Agency.
MAA chief executive Dr Andrew Mair said: "This is another opportunity for the Midlandsto swing its pool of skilled design engineers behind the growing aerospace sector, providing just the kind of jobs to replace those lost in the automotive industry."