The UK must focus on investment to enjoy global aviation growth

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UK aerospace has the opportunity to lead a new industrial revolution, helping to meet global environmental challenges and sustain a vibrant UK manufacturing economy. Ahead of the 2019 Paris Airshow, ADS calls for the UK government and industry to redouble efforts to meet the challenge of developing and manufacturing new technologies in the UK that reduce the environmental impacts of aviation.

With air travel forecast to grow significantly by 2050 and the global backlog of aircraft orders remaining close to record levels at more than 14,000, the UK has an opportunity to develop and manufacture the clean, fuel-efficient technologies of the future if we continue to focus on encouraging UK investment in aerospace innovation.

The UK aerospace sector deal, with its joint investment in the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Future Flight Challenge, will be vital to addressing future challenges, particularly as industry combats continued Brexit uncertainty.

At next week’s Paris Airshow, manufacturers from the UK and around the world will be gathering to showcase the latest new technology and discuss the future challenges facing aviation. The UK is a world leader in aerospace technology and can play a major role in making sure forecast future growth in air travel is achieved sustainably, and that we continue to benefit from the high-value jobs associated with this industry.

To succeed in this challenge we must make the UK the location of choice for aerospace investment. Our successful industrial strategy partnership between industry and Government is helping to secure our international competitiveness and we must build on this success. UK manufacturers fear the potential long-term damage caused by a ‘No Deal Brexit’, and we call on politicians of all parties to seek pragmatic solutions that protect jobs and prosperity.

ADS has also published its 2019 UK Aerospace Outlook, setting out the key facts and figures for the industry in the UK. The UK aerospace sector is now worth £36bn, generating more than £34bn in annual exports, and employing 111,000 people. With 45% turnover growth since 2010, the industry is generating high-value jobs in every part of the UK.

The European Union remains the biggest market for UK aerospace – the destination for 35% of exports, followed by the US and Canada at 21%. The latest figures show private sector investment of £2.7bn in the UK aerospace industry in 2017, and £1.5bn invested in R&D including industry, Government and international contributions.

However, the latest figures show a decline in UK GDP in April and volatility in investment and production by the UK aerospace industry in the year before the UK’s expected exit from the European Union on 29 March this year.

Following an unexpected fall in UK aerospace manufacturing in 2018 despite rising global production, the year to April 2019 showed growth to 0.2%, but there has been significant volatility as a result of preparations for Brexit, including stockpiling.

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