Blog Type, Fellowship Blog, Fellowship Type, Industry Visits, Industry Sector, Transport | September 2017

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP visits Airbus in Filton

Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen and Shadow Minister for Security and Solicitor General, visited the Airbus site in Filton on Friday 8 September as part of his Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship* exploring various issues within industry, including the aviation sector.

The UK is one of Airbus’ four home nations; the site in Filton employs around 4,000 people that primarily work on the 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. During the visit Nick was able to gain insight into some of these operations as well as explore key policy issues including industrial strategy, cyber security, digitalisation and Airbus’ latest Brexit positon.

Nick was taken on a tour of the site by an Airbus A400M Apprentice where he was able to meet a number of Airbus employees and see the Airbus Wind Tunnel which simulates wind speeds at take-off and landing. Nick was able to see first-hand how the Wind Tunnel technology is used for testing components of the aircrafts or whole aircrafts scaled down to size to test the aerodynamic design of the aircraft. As well as how air moves over aircraft surfaces and the complex relationship between lift, drag, the shape and orientation of the aircraft and air flow.

The visit also gave Nick the chance to see the Virtual Reality Suite and how Airbus uses panoramic imaging technology to design and model future wing configurations. As well as the opportunity for a brief overview of the Airbus Wing Integration Centre, a new £40million advanced research and testing centre, which is currently under construction for large structural components including future wings.

Nick’s visit to Airbus has provided him with a greater insight into employment, skills and security issues business are facing, in particular in the aviation industry.  

Commenting on the visit Nick Thomas-Symonds MP said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Airbus in Filton on Friday. During my visit I had some fascinating discussions and insight into Airbus’ operations. I am delighted to have seen how the A400M wings are assembled and produced as well as the technology behind the Wind Tunnel. The IPT Fellowship programme is extremely useful to me as a Member of Parliament. I would like to thank Airbus for organising this visit and I look forward to continuing my Fellowship at the IPT.”


Notes to Editors

*IPT Fellowships are educational, non-lobbying attachments for parliamentarians, providing a unique perspective of the challenges and issues facing UK industry. Fellowships can take place in a range of organisations, from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs and voluntary organisations.

About the IPT
To find out more about the Industry and Parliament Trust please visit: or contact Rioco Green, Communications Officer on 020 7839 9409 or

The Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) is a registered charity dedicated to promoting mutual understanding between Parliament, business, industry and commerce for the public benefit. This is achieved by encouraging dialogue between legislators and wealth generators from all sectors of business. The IPT is independent, non-partisan and non-lobbying.

Fellowships are bespoke placements in industry for MPs, MEPs and peers structured around a set of learning objectives dictated by each parliamentarian at the beginning of their programme. Fellowships are non-lobbying, non-partisan and educational in ethos and are supported across Parliament. There are currently over 70 parliamentarians undertaking a Fellowship. There have been over 500 Fellows since the IPT was founded in 1977.

About Airbus
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of € 67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, and is one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.