Air Industry chiefs gear up for take off

Posted on: 7/13/2016
Air Industry chiefs gear up for take off

Aerospace companies head to Farnborough Air Show to build business - Midlands Aerospace Alliance promotes programme of regional funding available.

Aerospace companies from across Derbyshire are gearing themselves up for their busiest week of the year as they look to secure new deals at the Farnborough Air Show.

A strong contingent from the region, headed by Derby aero engine-maker Rolls-Royce, will be attending the week-long event, which begins on Monday.

The event, which alternates each year between Paris and Farnborough, sees aerospace firms and airlines from all over the country gather together to network and secure deals.

Rolls-Royce will be hoping to add to its record order book of £47 billion.

Despite the tough economic climate at last year's show in Paris, Rolls-Royce announced around £2.5 billion of new engine orders. Its business included a £917 million order from Gulf Air for Trent 700 engines and a £1.1 billion order from Malaysian airline AirAsiaX for Trent XWB (extra wide body) engines.

The total amount of deals secured by Rolls-Royce was well shy of its best ever performance when it secured £7.5 billion of orders at Paris in 2007.

But with some signs this year the industry is starting to recover, the company, which has its civil aerospace division at Sinfin, hopes some big deals will be in the offing at Farnborough.

It is not only Rolls-Royce that is hoping to make an impact at the show.

A number of other Derbyshire firms who supply parts and services to the aerospace industry will be represented.

Some of them will be there under the banner of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, an organisation comprising 280 aerospace firms in the region.

The MAA will have a stand at the show so 20 companies from the region can showcase their work and network with potential new clients.

They include Paul Fabrications, which is based at Castle Donington.

The Sills Road firm manufactures parts for aerospace companies and Rolls-Royce is one of its biggest customers.

At the start of the year, Paul Fabrications signed a five-year deal with Rolls-Royce to continue supplying parts, which led to the firm expanding its premises.

Kevin Dexter, business development manager at the firm, said: "Farnborough is the most important aerospace event on the calendar.

"It will be a great opportunity for our firm to create new contracts and develop a spread of potential customers."

Andrew Mair, chief executive of the MAA, believes more business will be done at this year's show compared to the last couple of years.

He said: "Shows like Farnborough are a golden opportunity for firms to get their name out there and make contact with the key players in the industry.

"The past couple of shows have been fairly quiet because of the global economic situation.

"But there are signs this year that airlines are gearing themselves up to invest in new aircraft.

"My feeling is there will be a lot of interest from countries such as China and India where the economies have not suffered as much."

As well as helping the big guns of the aerospace industry the Midlands Aerospace Alliance also ensures that smaller firms in the supply chain are supported.

One of the ways it does this is through the Supply Chains for the 21st Century programme.

SC21, funded by Advantage West Midlands, East Midlands Economics Online and the European Regional Development Fund, is designed to improve the performance of companies and help them compete in global aerospace and defence markets.

Since its launch in 2006, £650,000 of grants have been provided to help 70 Midlands companies take part in the programme through projects delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance.

Tim Holmes, SC21 project manager at the alliance, said: "With more than £90,000 of funding still available the message is clear – any aerospace and defence supplier that is serious about improving their productivity, quality, cost and delivery should consider SC21.

"We are using Farnborough to communicate to the global customer community the significant improvements already made by Midlands companies to encourage others to participate in the programme."

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