Airbus set to unveil big new order: UK government

LONDON Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:16am EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - European planemaker Airbus EAD.PA will announce a big new order on Thursday that will safeguard around 9,000 jobs in Britain, a government spokesman said.

Separately, there were reports that Malaysian group AirAsia (AIRA.KL), Asia's largest low-cost carrier, was set to order 100 A320 aircraft worth around $9 billion.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes, also owner of struggling London soccer club Queen's Park Rangers, tweeted earlier this week he was on his way to London for a "big announcement".

In September, Fernandes said a plan to buy 100 Airbus planes would be submitted to AirAsia's board as part its expansion.

The deal will protect 1,500 Airbus jobs in Britain and a further 7,500 in the extended supply chain, the government spokesman said.

Prime Minister David Cameron, head of a government struggling with unpopular austerity measures and a weak economy, will visit Airbus's Broughton site in north Wales where it assembles aircraft wings and employs over 5,000 people.

(Reporting By Isla Binnie; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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