South West England to champion strengths of region’s powerhouse aerospace sector at international airshow

Invest Bristol & Bath, which sits at the heart of the largest aerospace cluster in Europe, will lead a delegation of inward investment agencies from the South West in banging the drum for the region in front of a global audience at Farnborough International Airshow.

Together with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Invest Bristol & Bath will join forces with the West of England Aerospace Forum to showcase the South West’s aerospace sector and attract new investment into the region.

The partner organisations will be joined by aerospace and advanced engineering companies from the area, which will exhibit their products and services.

The 49th Farnborough International Airshow, taking place from July 14 to 20, is one of the world’s largest exhibitions and air displays.

Of the 15 international giants of aerospace, 14 have bases in the South West of England, while the region is also home to a strong network of world-class supply chain companies.

Prof Joe McGeehan, chair of Invest Bristol & Bath, said: “The Bristol and Bath region’s aerospace sector is home to the operations of numerous industry giants including Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GKN Aerospace, while the South West’s rich and diverse supply chain of advanced manufacturing companies also plays a significant role in driving the sector forward.

“As a result, the South West region hosts one of the largest and most significant aerospace clusters in the world, worth more than £7bn. Only recently, Bristol and Bath’s high tech industry and the South West’s aerospace sector were among only 12 UK economic clusters to be highlighted as ‘globally-significant’ and ‘fast-growing’ in an influential Centre for Cities /McKinsey & Company report.

“Our aim is to attract further investment into the region so that cutting-edge technologies continue to be developed in our aerospace sector, jobs are created and the industry continues to set the agenda nationally and beyond.”

WEAF is a membership trade association that promotes and supports the interests of the aerospace and defence industry in the South West of England.

Steve Hindley, chair of the Heart of the South West LEP said: “The Heart of the South West area – covering Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay – hosts industry leaders such as Agusta Westland, Babcock International and the Barden Corporation, and is supported by a strong and growing network of aerospace and advanced engineering companies.

“Together, the aerospace and advanced engineering industries in the Heart of the South West employ more than 23,000 people and contribute over £1 billion to the economy.

“In partnership with our inward investment neighbours, we will fly the flag for the South West, attracting more companies from this valuable sector, and supporting their continued growth and development.  We offer excellent logistics and supply chain networks, world leading innovative research and development services and also provide an outstanding quality of life set in a beautiful location.”

Gordon Page, chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is very proud to be working with both Invest Bristol & Bath and The Heart of the South West LEP in highlighting the wealth of aerospace and advanced engineering and manufacturing companies that populate the South West region.

“In Dorset, we are proud that companies such as Cobham and Meggitt are headquartered here and that we can continue to boast of the strong and growing advanced engineering supply chain which exists across Dorset.”

The Farnborough International Airshow offers companies, small, medium or large, an opportunity to showcase products and capabilities to an international audience, with networking events and conferences organised across the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.

The trade show runs alongside Farnborough Airshow, which takes place on July 19 and 20, and will feature captivating air displays to celebrate 100 years of aviation history.

The UK has the world’s largest aerospace industry outside of the United States.