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Decision near on carriers contract.

The future of Britain's pounds 3bn aircraft carriers project could be decided within a month, the Government said yesterday ( but North-East workers may still be left in the dark.

With thousands of North-East jobs riding on the carriers, new project manager Kellogg Brown Root (KBR) is in the midst of a 100-day programme to decide on a revised build strategy for the carriers.

The Defence Procurement Agency, part of the MoD, refused to name a date when that 100-day period would end, but said KBR was expected to complete its work by mid June, or early July at the latest, and then its new strategy would be announced.

An industry analyst said Swan Hunter would welcome the carriers project finally moving on, but the new build strategy would not provide all the answers.

Much of the yard's involvement in the project will be through sub-contracting, and those contracts will not be put out to tender until six to 18 months' time.

Jaap Kroese, owner of the Wallsend shipyard, said: "We have had discussions with KBR, but they are still feeling their way around ( no firm decisions have been taken."

Mr Kroese also said he was not concerned about fellow North-East yard A&P Tyne seeking more work on the carriers as Swans' role was secure.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 19, 2005
Words:215
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