MORE than 1,000 jobs at a Barnoldswick manufacturer have been further safeguarded after a major deal was signed off.

Rolls-Royce has welcomed the decision by China Southern Airlines to select 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, powered by the firm’s Trent XWB engine.

Fan blades for the engine, which is hailed as the world’s most efficient large aero engine, are manufactured at Rolls’ Barnoldswick plant.

So far it has been ordered by more than 40 customers, with more than 1,600 engines bought.

Dominic Horwood, Rolls-Royce’s director of customers and services, said: “We are delighted to be building on a long and successful relationship with China Southern.

“Our Trent XWB engine delivers excellent efficiency and lower emissions which will complement their expanding fleet.”

The news comes after Rolls started construction of its wide chord fan blades factory extension in December which is part of an almost £50 million investment at the Barnoldswick site.

The new extension, which was announced in October, will support the firm’s plans to double the production of new aero engines over the next few years.

The expanded centre will be able to manufacture 6,000 large Trent fan blades a year, almost twice its current capacity.

Rolls-Royce has invested more than £100 million in the site over the last three years as it modernises its facilities and increases production of engines for widebody passenger aircraft.

In November China Southern Airlines announced an order for ten Airbus A330 aircraft which are to be powered by Trent 700 engines in a deal worth $700 million.

Rolls-Royce has said these titanium blades have a ‘unique’ hollow structure and provide the majority of the thrust for Trent engines.

In February workers at the Barnoldswick plant were reassured that multi-million investment in their future is unaffected by the company’s record loss.

The engine-maker slumped into the red by £4.64 billion after being hit by the pound’s post-Brexit plunge and a £671 million bill from a corruption scandal.

Its annual report highlighted the key role of its Barnoldswick operation.