Aerospace industry discusses growth

The North West Aerospace Alliance, the regional trade association that represents the industry, has spoken about the aerospace and defence sectors and the important role they play in delivering growth.

David BaileyHowever, deeper collaboration across all stakeholders will be required to make that happen in the face of the global challenges. The North West of England has long been a powerhouse in the world’s aerospace and defence industry. The Northern Powerhouse is the UK government’s new initiative to boost the economy of the North of England.

The global demand for civil aircraft continues to grow by 5 per cent year on year, but so does the capability of overseas supply chains, with foreign nations providing support to develop their local capabilities.

If the North West’s aerospace supply chain is going to maintain or grow market share, then it must gain and maintain world class competitiveness.

By doing so, the North West’s aerospace industry can continue to provide high-value manufacturing employment securing the future for our local communities and region.

The North West Aerospace Alliance, together with some of its leading member companies, has launched a strategic development programme, to ensure that the aerospace supply chain continues to build the capability and productivity levels that will ensure future competitiveness.

The programme brings leading companies together from across the North West of England through a series of workshops focussed on manufacturing, technology, supply chain and skills. From the first workshop with its members, the Alliance has already determined a number of key issues.

The supply chain can be competitive by smarter adoption of  technology, rather than trying to compete on labour costs. Closer cooperation, between customers and suppliers, and more investment innovation is required to maintain market share in a growing global market.

In addition, the growth of the industry and the demographic trends are creating skills gaps in specialist knowledge. We need to attract even more new talent, reskill our experienced workforces and further leverage technology to provide new capacity and capabilities.

Dr. David Bailey, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “Our members in the North West of England represent some 25 per cent of the UK’s Aerospace Industry which is the second largest in the World after the United States. However, the challenges from the growing global competition are unrelenting and a robust response is required by all of our stakeholders.

"I believe the Northern Powerhouse can help us to grow market share if we can do more to connect, for example, Lancashire’s aerospace metal machining companies with Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres.”

The North West Aerospace Alliance will be running a series of workshops over the next few months to develop a detailed understanding of the supply chain’s requirements.

Dr. Bailey has a message to aerospace companies in the region: “I am encouraging as many companies as possible to get involved and contribute to the future of our industry. We will promote solutions, from wherever we can find them, to ensure that the Aerospace supply chain fully plays its part in the Northern Powerhouse.”