The cluster of aerospace companies in the Midlands is one of the largest in the world, almost all of which have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, the Midlands Aerospace Alliance has published a plan for rescuing and recovering the aerospace supply chains at the heart of UK manufacturing.
With airlines cutting or suspending orders for new aircraft, the aerospace industry, which brings £36bn in revenue to the UK economy and provides more than 250,000 high-value jobs, is being hit hard.
Large and small companies have had no option but to downsize their operations and workforces rapidly.
Aerospace suppliers that make parts for varied aircraft programmes, and those that also supply other market sectors in the Midlands engineering supercluster, for example rail, should be in a stronger position than those dependent on the production of the large, long-haul civil aircraft that have been hardest hit. But conditions are tough for all.
Although these are unprecedented times and it’s therefore challenging to make reliable forecasts, the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA) is expecting the lowest point for the industry to come later in 2020 before demand begins to pick up in 2021.
However, the organisation – which represents more than 300 organisations, including Collins Aerospace, Meggitt, Moog Aircraft Group and Rolls-Royce – anticipates that it could take until 2025 for the industry to recover and return to its previous growth trajectory.
In its plan, the MAA has established five key priorities, 23 critical actions and the guiding principles it believes will enable aerospace supply chain companies to survive this crisis and bounce back with capabilities, capacity and competitiveness intact.
The plan has been developed by bringing together aerospace experts across industry, academia and government to work through the critical and complex issues. The MAA has also carried out extensive consultation and discussions throughout the region.
Chief executive of the MAA, Dr Andrew Mair commented: “We have all had to react rapidly as the crisis has started to unfold and many aerospace companies are experiencing serious difficulties.
“Now we have a plan in place, we will be working with key stakeholders to agree the best approach to implementation to ensure the industry, which contributes so much to the UK economy, not only survives the crisis but returns to growth in the future.”
It is anticipated that the plan will evolve as the crisis develops to ensure the right actions continue to be taken nationally and regionally to help return the UK economy to prosperity.
*Images courtesy of MAA