THE PRIME Minister has welcomed news of a multi-billion pound deal between Airbus and an Asian airline expected to safeguard 9,000 jobs.

On his visit to the plane-maker’s headquarters in Broughton in North Wales, he said the £5.8 billion order placed by AirAsia for 100 A320 aircraft was "excellent news and a tremendous boost" for UK manufacturing.

The firm said the contract would secure 1,500 jobs in the UK and 7,500 in its supply chain. Airbus currently employs 4,000 workers in Filton, where aircraft wings, fuel systems and landing gear are designed and tested.

Mr Cameron said: "This is excellent news and a tremendous boost for the workforce and UK manufacturing. "Today's announcement demonstrates the strength of the UK aerospace sector and the important role it plays it growing and rebalancing our economy.

"This government will continue to back UK aerospace, cutting business taxes, investing in exports and working in partnership with the industry to ensure it is fully equipped to compete and thrive in the global race."

AirAsias's order is for 64 A320neo jets and 36 A320ceo aircraft. Mr Cameron toured the wing assembly plant on Thursday with AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes.

Dr Fernandes said: "The A320 has played a key role in our success, enabling us to offer our passengers the lowest fares possible and completely redefine short-haul travel in Asia."

Tom Williams, senior UK representative of Airbus, said: "This order comes as a huge boost. We are delighted to welcome the Prime Minister and the chief executive of AirAsia to the plant to see the skills and expertise of the team in action today."

This is Airbus’s sixth order since August. Over the past five months the manufacturer has struck multi-billion pound deals with Singapore Airlines, Phillipines Airlines, Chinese firm ICBC Leasing, Turkish Airlines and Mexican airline Interjet.

To date over 8,500 A320 jets have been ordered and more than 5,200 delivered to 365 customers and operators worldwide.