Aerospace Lancashire, the partnership between the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancashire County Council (LCC) and local aerospace businesses, received an overwhelmingly positive response when it exhibited at last week’s Paris Air Show.
The four-day, bi-annual event sees around 2,400 companies exhibiting, welcomes over 320,000 international visitors, and attracts over 3,000 members of the world’s press.
Many of the NWAA’s biggest members are based in Lancashire, and companies such as BAE Systems, Safran Nacelles, Kaman and MB Aerospace also attended the Paris show.
Their presence, alongside a number of Lancashire SMEs who are part of the county’s massive aerospace supply chain, was used by Aerospace Lancashire to demonstrate to investors, employers and policymakers the continuing significance of Lancashire’s world-class aerospace industry.
This included highlighting how the county was still the number one region in the UK for aerospace activity and remains fourth in the world overall. Other major assets currently being brought forward, which will enhance the county’s aerospace offer, were also actively promoted.
These include UCLan’s new £30m Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) at Preston and the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre North West (AMRC NW) which is set to be sited at the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone, both of which have been supported by the LEP’s Growth Deal fund.
The AMRC NW will also be adjacent to BAE’s facilities at Samlesbury which include their Academy for Skills and Knowledge (ASK).
Over the course of the Paris show the Aerospace Lancashire team held meetings with government minister Andrew Stephenson from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), representatives from Department of International Trade (DIT), and major UK-based aerospace businesses.
They also had talks with over 25 different companies, delegations and international aerospace clusters who were interested in finding out more about Lancashire’s aerospace sector and potential investment opportunities.
Lancashire County Council’s Head of Business Growth and Innovation, Andy Walker, who attended the show, said: “Lancashire’s reputation as one of the world’s most significant aerospace clusters, with major manufacturers based in the county together with hundreds of SMEs in the supply chain, continues to be recognised on a global scale.
“We are still the only place in the UK where an entire aircraft can be produced without leaving the county boundary, and we are still continually investing in skills, technology and business support specifically around aerospace and aviation.
“New assets, such as UCLan’s EIC and the planned AMRC North West facility, together with advanced manufacturing investment programmes such as the Made Smarter initiative, also continue to help us make the case for Lancashire domestically and internationally at key events like this.
“The reaction from influential UK government officials, foreign investors and major employers to the Aerospace Lancashire proposition was extremely positive and we look forward to continuing the conversation with these and others on behalf of the whole county going forward.”
David Bailey, Chief Executive of the NWAA, said: “Lancashire, and the hundreds of businesses within the county which work within the aerospace sector, are key partners for the NWAA. It was therefore fantastic that Aerospace Lancashire were able to join us at Paris this year.
“We were able to introduce the county to a wide range of potential companies and aerospace clusters looking to forge links with the UK and we helped make the case for Lancashire, and the wider North West, to influential government policymakers both in the UK and abroad.”
County Councillor Michael Green, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “We’re pleased that we could support the Lancashire delegation to Paris. Major international events, such as the Paris Air Show, are a significant opportunity to attract investment, grow our economy and bring highly skilled jobs to the county.
“We have a globally-renowned aerospace and advanced manufacturing sector, and it’s important that we continue to support the sector to develop and grow in the future.”