Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC), a UK-based trade association, has appointed Graham Chisnall as its new chairman, replacing Sir Donald Spiers who retired from the role after almost 20 years of service. Chisnall is experienced in the sector, having occupied senior roles with British Aerospace (BAe), GKN Aerospace and ADS.
He joins FAC in a difficult time as aviation is restricted by government responses to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, but says the sector will climb out of its “current trough”, cautioning that it will take time and that “many businesses will have to hunker down and concentrate on survival”.
However, he says that the aerospace sector is one of the UK’s few global industries that remains competitive and is well placed to recover. Chisnall adds that FAC has a good relationship with ADS, the UK trade organisation representing the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, with more than 1,100 member businesses, which has done significant work since Covid grounded the sector.
“Along with ADS, FAC administers NATEP, the programme that funds research and development projects for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This could be crucial for companies which want to hold onto their skilled engineers as they wait for commercial flying to resume,” stated Chisnall.
“As well as funding, membership of FAC brings access to market intelligence and information, helps members win business and offers networking opportunities. It brings large companies together with those smaller businesses in the supply chain and is the recognised voice of SMEs within the sector.”
FAC also has a large presence at the Farnborough International Air Show and the association hopes that in 2022 the show will generate plenty of business.
“There is a lot of work to do but I remain confident that aerospace will recover. Some things will have changed for good, but people will always want to travel,” stated Chisnall.
Graham Chisnall’s career saw him finish his time at BAe as group head of strategy, and at GKN he rose to corporate director of strategy, responsible for group strategy across all sectors of the company. In 2010 he joined ADS as deputy CEO and managing director, and he is also an experienced non-exec director across private, public interest and not-for-profit sectors.
Graham, a self-confessed ‘aviation anorak’, flies vintage aircraft, is a trustee of the Brooklands Museum and chairs the learned society of WW1 Aviation historians, the Cross and Cockade Society. He lives in north Hampshire, close Farnborough.