North West business briefs: Airbus; Napthens; Levitex; Horwich Cohen Coghlan

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus will be ramping up production, which means more work for its wing-making plant in Broughton, near Chester.

In an update to its suppliers, the plane maker said it expects the commercial aircraft market to recover to pre-COVID levels between 2023 and 2025, led by the single-aisle segment.

Chief executive, Guillaume Faury, said: “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The message to our supplier community provides visibility to the entire industrial ecosystem to secure the necessary capabilities and be ready when market conditions call for it. In parallel, we are transforming our industrial system by optimising our aerostructures set-up and modernising our A320 family production facilities. All these actions are set in motion to prepare our future.”

Airbus said the average A320 family production rate was 45 aircraft per month in the fourth quarter of 2021, and this is expected to increase to 64 by the second quarter of 2023, and to 70 by the first quarter of 2024. Longer term, rates could reach 75 by 2025.

The A220 family is currently being produced at a rate of around five aircraft per month, which should rise to six by early 2022, then 14 by the middle of the decade. The A350 family of aircraft is being manufacturered at a currently rate of five per month and this is expected to increase to six by autumn 2022. A330 family production remains at an average monthly production rate of two per month.

Broughton employed more than 6,000 staff before the pandemic led to the grounding of the world’s aircraft fleets. Job numbers were cut to around 4,500 as production was significantly scaled back.


Nicola Mason

North West law firm Napthens has announced the launch of the Napthens Foundation, an organisation set up to support causes across the North West that are important to the business and its workforce.

With an aim to raise £15,000 in its first year, the foundation has been set up to provide relief to those in need by reason of education, youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage. The firm will support the foundation, through donations, help with event organisation, fundraising or promotion of events.

Inaugural appointees to the foundation’s committee, set to be reviewed on an annual basis, are made up of a mix of colleagues from across Napthens’ various regional offices, including HR and operations director, Nicola Mason, as well as Clare Lennon from Charities Trust, who has also joined the committee, as Napthens has partnered with Charities Trust to administer the foundation.

Nicola Mason said: “Napthens has been a long-standing supporter of many local charities, with our teams across the North West coming together to support important local causes. Many of our annual fundraising events, such as our clay pigeon shoots and cheese and wine events, have become key dates in the calendar that our internal teams, clients and charity partners look forward to each year. The creation of this foundation will align our charitable efforts and make the greatest impact possible.”

Shru Morris, Napthens chief executive, said: “Relationships are at the heart of everything we do at Napthens and we always look to engage with stakeholders on a deeper level, ensuring we make a real difference to our communities across the North West, the Napthens Foundation will help us take this to new heights.”


James Leinhardt

A company that specialises in pillows to help with neck pain has landed two national contracts with leading home retailer, Next and national bed retailer, Dreams.

Manchester-based Levitex, which uses a unique pressure-relieving foam technology in its products, will now see its range of mattresses stocked online at Next as well as its range of pillows in 200 Dreams stores across the UK and online.

Levitex founder, James Leinhardt, a recognised posture expert who worked in healthcare before launching the company, said: “Signing up with two major UK retailers is something that all small business owners strive towards and I’m incredibly proud that just three years after launching the company properly, brands like Next and Dreams has seen the potential we have.

“We’re on a mission to change the way people think about sleep posture, and how much impact the way you sleep at night can have on your body. We’ve got a huge amount of scientific research and evidence behind our products which I think really gives us a competitive advantage over other brands like us, so I’m really excited to see them in stores.”

A Next spokesperson said: “More people are aware of their posture and that improved sleep quality has a large effect on improving posture as well as mental wellbeing. Investing in the right sleep surface is vital to improving sleep quality and we’re pleased to now be stocking Levitex mattresses and supporting their mission to educate people on sleep posture.”


Martin James

Horwich Cohen Coghlan (HCC) the Manchester-based serious injury law firm, has teamed up with a leading organisation that supports bereaved families following a murder or a manslaughter.

SAMM (Support After Murder and Manslaughter) is a registered charity which offers ongoing support to families bereaved by murder and manslaughter in the UK. It was launched in 1988 and now has more than 3,000 members drawn from all over the UK. As well as providing peer support, a confidential helpline and community events for members, it also provides advice and training to professionals who engage with families who have been traumatically bereaved.

The official corporate partnership will enable members and their families to rapidly access specialist legal advice in the aftermath of a fatal incident.

Joanne Early, CEO of SAMM National, said: “Our services are available for anyone who has been affected by murder, manslaughter and bereavement through terrorism. We support immediate family members and wider family members, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. We also support bereaved friends and colleagues. The new corporate partnership agreed with HCC Solicitors supports our ability to continue providing our support services to all these people who have been bereaved in circumstances that can be challenging to come to terms with.”

Martin James, chief operating officer at HCC Solicitors, said: “We are proud to support SAMM with their vital work. It is important that families are able to access all the support services they need as quickly as possible during this very difficult time. This also includes specialist legal advice from experienced lawyers. A bereavement in such traumatic circumstances requires long term support and SAMM can help provide this.”