AIRBUS has announced it is to sponsor this year’s Chester LGBT Pride event.

The firm chose International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT) on Friday to also launch its LGBT+ staff network at its wing-manufacturing site in Broughton.

Its iconic super-transporter aircraft, the Beluga, got in on the act and the aircraft's big brother, the BelugaXL, was also in Broughton on the day as it made its second visit to the company’s Hawarden Aerodrome as part of its testing programme.

Airbus engineer Rob Hurley, co-chair of the Pride@Airbus staff network, said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with this year’s Chester Pride on the day we also launch our LGBT+ staff network in Broughton.

“In recent years, Airbus has made enormous strides globally to demonstrate it’s a great company to work for, no matter your background. It seemed only fitting to make these announcements on a day when the world is focused on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”

The Pride@Airbus network now covers all major Airbus UK sites, including Filton, near Bristol, Portsmouth, Stevenage and Newport, as well as the company’s operations in the US, France, Germany, Spain and India, where homosexuality has only recently been decriminalised.

To celebrate IDAHOBiT, Airbus’ UK facilities have decorated buildings, pathways and roundabouts in rainbow colours across their sites, while the rainbow flag is being flown at Broughton.

Paul McKinlay, head of Broughton plant, said: “We value and welcome diversity in our workforce.

"We want the best talent to join us in what are exciting times for Airbus in the UK and we positively encourage people, whatever their background, to come and see what we’re all about.

“We hope our sponsorship of Chester Pride sends out a strong and clear message that Airbus in Broughton is a great place to work for anyone identifying as LGBT, while demonstrating our commitment to existing LGBT employees that we are here to support them in any way we can.”

Warren Lee Allmark, chair of Chester Pride, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Airbus on board as a sponsor for 20

"In the seven years Chester Pride has existed, we have built up strong relationships with large employers in the local area; to have Airbus on board shows how far we have come in such a short time.

“By working closely with Airbus over the last few months, we are able to reflect our shared values and commitment to equality and diversity to all of our guests attending on 10 August.”