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Heathrow on superjumbo alert.

Britain's biggest airport could be handling as many as 85 superjumbo planes like the Airbus A380 a day by 2020.

And the UK will require nearly 1,300 new planes between now and 2025, with only the US and China expected to need more, planemaker Airbus predicted in London.

This figure would include 85 daily flights of very large aircraft at Heathrow. The total cost of new UK planes over the next 20 years will be around pounds 80 billion.

Production difficulties have led Airbus, whose plane wings are made in the UK, to delay deliveries of its 555-seater A380 for two years, causing concern about jobs at Filton in Bristol and Broughton in North Wales.

Yesterday Airbus's customer chief operating officer John Leahy, was asked about job security for Airbus UK staff.

He replied that Airbus hopes to make many of the 22,700 passenger planes that it is forecasting will be needed worldwide between 2006 and 2025. Asked if those planes would be built in the UK, Mr Leahy replied: "Around the world, including the UK."

Originally, it had been planned that the A380 would be in passenger service by now. But the first of the superjumbos will not now be delivered until October 2007.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic has deferred delivery of its six A380s from 2009 to 2013.

Only one company - Federal Express - has cancelled its A380 order.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 23, 2006
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