County’s biggest ever presence at Paris Airshow boosted by NWAA report
Lancashire reinforced its position as the UK’s biggest region for aerospace activity at last month’s Paris Airshow highlighting a new report confirming the county employs more people within the sector than any other in the UK.
The international expo, which ran from June 19-25, was attended by representatives of Aerospace Lancashire, the joint initiative between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Lancashire County Council (LCC) which was launched at the Farnborough International Airshow last year.
Part of the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) delegation, Aerospace Lancashire had its own exhibition stand which showcased the county’s world-class aerospace businesses, assets and infrastructure dedicated to aerospace R&D, manufacturing and servicing.
This included the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone site, part of the new Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Enterprise Zone cluster, which has been designated a dedicated aerospace hub. Samlesbury is also the location of the BAE’s UK manufacturing base which includes its hi-tech aerospace training facility, the Academy for Skills & Knowledge.
Another key part of Aerospace Lancashire’s trade mission was sharing the findings of a new report, produced by the NWAA, into the size, diversity and growth potential of Lancashire’s aerospace economy.
Entitled Lancashire: Number One For Aerospace Jobs, the 28-page report analysed local, regional, national and global aerospace markets and assessed Lancashire’s current and future growth opportunities within the sector.
It found that not only was Lancashire still the UK’s number one region for Aerospace employment, with around 17,000 directly employed in the sector, it is the only place in the UK to have the skills, resources and capacity for the end-to-end manufacturing and servicing of a complete aircraft for its entire life-cycle.
The research also highlighted that Lancashire has enjoyed substantial private sector investment, totalling around £300m, into aerospace and related facilities in recent years.
This includes £100m invested by Rolls-Royce at its Barnoldswick site over the last three years, the £2.5m tooling centre opened by Kaman in Burnley in 2014, and the £150m investment BAE Systems has made in new equipment to meet the demands of the F35 Lightning II programme.
This level of investment, combined with the multi-million pounds of public money secured by the LEP through three rounds of Growth Deal funding to support aerospace activities, means Lancashire has the resources and infrastructure to sustain growth within the aerospace and AEM sectors for many years to come.
The report also looked at anticipated growth within both civil and military aircraft production globally. It found that in addition to increasing demand for new types of larger civil craft over the next 20 years, there is currently a 12,500 backlog of civil aircraft awaiting manufacture.
Within the military sector, where BAE Systems is already a major player through both its current Typhoon Euro-Fighter and F-35 programmes, the report describes how a new partnership between BAE and Turkish Aerospace, together with BAE’s leading role on a potential decade-long £1.5bn R&D project for a new breed of unmanned combat aircraft, could see its two Lancashire sites growing further.
In addition to reporting on the economic significance of over 30 Lancashire-based aerospace firms which have a combined turnover of £5bn – such as BAE, Rolls-Royce, Kaman, Safran, Magellan, Weston, Velcoity and Assystem – the NWAA document also outlines the strength, depth and diversity of the county’s wider aerospace supply chain.
It has been calculated that around 500 firms in Lancashire directly supply the county’s aerospace sector, with many of these working within specialist manufacturing areas such as precision components, advanced surface treatments, and the assembly of engine sub-systems.
Andy Walker, from the Aerospace Lancashire delegation, said: “As this report has highlighted, Lancashire remains the UK’s biggest aerospace employer and supports tens of thousands of high skilled jobs both directly and through its supply chain.
“This, combined with our continued investment into our new EZ cluster, which includes a dedicated aerospace zone in Samlesbury, and other assets such as BAE’s ASK training facility will help us continue to prosper as one of the world’s most advanced and successful aerospace clusters within the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.
“This is the upbeat and confident message we took to Paris last month, which was very well received by potential investors, employers and numerous government ministers who were in attendance.”
David Bailey, Chief Executive of the NWAA, said: “Our new report suggests that the global economic outlook for the aerospace sector remains very positive, with Lancashire in a great position to build upon its status as the UK’s leading region for aerospace jobs. The fact that Lancashire has a complete end-to-end capability to design, build and maintain an entire fixed-wing aircraft provides for a fantastic range of business and employment opportunities.
“Samlesbury, as part of Lancashire’s wider Enterprise Zone cluster, has the potential to provide a platform for accelerated growth within both military and civil markets, benefiting from access to the whole of the county’s aerospace and AEM supply chains.
“BAE Systems is set to kick-start new programmes such as the Unmanned Future Combat Air System, adding to its successful Typhoon and F-35 production lines. Lancashire based companies such as Rolls-Royce and Safran Nacelles are experiencing the continuing ramp-up in commercial aircraft production and are being supported by many other international and specialist companies located in the county.
“This civil and military aerospace capability provides the potential for Lancashire to remain the UK’s largest aerospace employer and places the county at the forefront of the global aerospace industry for the decades ahead.”
A new film promoting Lancashire’s world class aerospace offer and the new EZ cluster was also part of the Aerospace Lancashire pitch to investors at the Paris Airshow. To watch it click here
For more information about the NWAA visit http://www.aerospace.co.uk/