High-flying Farnborough the hub for aerospace deals

The United Kingdom’s prominence in the aerospace industry has been given a boost by high-flying sales figures at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The 2018 Farnborough International Airshow saw nearly 100 countries represented and an unprecedented number of military and civil commercial delegations. By the end of the second day, more than $98bn in deals had been announced; $23bn up on the first two days of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow.

Amanda Stainer, Farnborough International Commercial Director says: “I am delighted that the global aerospace industry use the Farnborough International Airshow as the preeminent platform for doing business and signing major deals.

“The future starts at Farnborough; our exhibition halls are full of innovation that will shape how we fly, enabling us to go further, faster and with less environmental impact.”

While Farnborough is seen as the international showcase for the sector, connecting an industry worth $350bn, there have been concerns over the UK’s ongoing role in aerospace and aviation following Brexit. The UK is currently home to a thriving aerospace sector, employing 95,000 people with a turnover of £31bn in 2016. It includes major player BAE Systems (the world’s third-largest defense contractor) and Rolls-Royce (the world’s second-largest aircraft engine maker).

Moves to allay fears included the announcement of new Government-backed projects in the UK aerospace sector to ensure that Britain’s position as a leading aerospace nation would continue.

Prime Minister Theresa May, officially opened the Airshow, stated: “This is an incredibly exciting time for aerospace. Not only is there huge growth potential, but many of the developments taking place have the potential to transform the way we fly.

“By working closely together, Government and industry have ensured we remain at the forefront of civil aviation and that our air power is second to none.”

The show saw the announcement of the Government’s new Combat Air Strategy, which aims to deliver the next generation of combat air capability – the Tempest – by 2035. BAE Systems is working alongside the UK Government, the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Air Force and industry partners MBDA, Rolls-Royce and Leonardo to develop the technology.

The announcement of the UK’s first spaceport, which will open in Sutherland, in the Highlands of Scotland, from the early 2020s, is also expected to “create hundreds of new jobs” and attract millions of pounds in investment. A new £2m development fund for further spaceport launch sites across Britain was unveiled as the government looks to bolster the UK space industry after Brexit. The commercial space sector is estimated to contribute £3.8bn to the UK economy over the next decade.