Lancashire aims to become UK’s top aero cluster

Posted on 6 Jul 2016 by Jonny Williamson

A new initiative to promote Lancashire as the UK’s number one aerospace cluster will be launched at the Farnborough International Airshow next week, when the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Lancashire County Council (LCC) join together as ‘Aerospace Lancashire’.

During the five-day global trade expo, Aerospace Lancashire will be signposting delegates to all the local firms exhibiting, and championing the region’s collective aerospace strength.

These include Hurst Green Plastics from Whalley; Valuechain from Lancaster; Clitheroe’s Granada Material Handling; Blackburn’s Castle Metals; RuleIQ from Nelson; Burnley’s Hycrome Aerospace, and Senior Aerospace from Earby.

Aerospace Lancashire, will be part of a North West aerospace presence at Farnborough facilitated by the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) trade association.

It will be exhibiting with the NWAA in Farnborough, Hall 1, stand number 1/B140, between July 11-15.

A number of major international companies with a significant Lancashire presence will also be exhibiting, including Kaman, Safran-Aircelle; Magellan; Rolls-Royce, and BAE Systems.   

Aerospace Lancashire will also be highlighting how the county is ideally positioned to take advantage of a rising global demand for better and more innovative aircraft, both civil and military, over the coming two decades.

A recent report by UK aerospace trade body – ADS, found that the UK market is set to benefit from $75bn investment in commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, with UK airlines requiring 900 new and replacement aircraft to keep up with increasing passenger numbers and new routes.

With 65% of a single aircraft cost-base currently derived from external suppliers, the ADS also calculated that there will be massive opportunities for those firms who are part of the aerospace supply chain, and also predicts that the aircraft aftercare and service market could be worth an additional $49bn between now and 2034.

Deloitte’s 2016 Global Aerospace Outlook report also supports the ADS findings and suggests there will be an almost 30% increase in commercial aircraft production over the next seven years.

Lancashire and BAE

An F-35B makes a vertical landing on an aircraft carrier. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
The F-35 programme has an estimated value of $1tn and is described as the world’s largest single defence project – image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Deloitte also predicts an uplift in military aircraft demand, which could be particularly significant for Lancashire with regard to the county’s long association with defence companies, such as BAE Systems.

The strong and historic relationship between BAE and Lancashire is set to be further reinforced next week with the F-35 Lightning II fighter making its Farnborough debut.

The F-35 programme, which has an estimated value of $1tn and is described as the world’s largest single defence programme, is led by Lockheed Martin in the US with BAE Systems as its key European partner.

BAE leads on several areas for the F-35, including the manufacture of its rear fuselage, and has calculated that the F-35 project already helps to support more than 1,500 jobs in Lancashire and has generated over £8m for the local economy in the past 12 months.

Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Edwin Booth said: “The next generation of aircraft will need to be smarter, more efficient and quieter, and while passenger jets are getting bigger, business jets will need to be sleeker and more bespoke.

“Military and other specialist aircraft are also evolving at a rapid rate and will require new materials and technologies which can be prototyped, tested and supplied far quicker than they can currently.

BAE and Reaction Engines announce partnership for the development of SABRE aerospace engine.
The next generation of aircraft will need to be smarter, more efficient and quieter – image courtesy of BAE Systems.

“We are taking a strong message to Farnborough that highlights both the thriving aerospace sector we have today in Lancashire, and shows that as a region we are already gearing up for the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead in the future.”

Head of Business Growth at Lancashire County Council Andy Walker added: “As Aerospace Lancashire at Farnborough, we will be promoting that the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone site is primed for aerospace investment and development, that we have a highly-skilled aerospace workforce, great national and international connectivity, world-class universities driving innovation, and a long tradition of advanced manufacturing excellence throughout the entire supply chain.”