The subject of Brexit hovered over the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium’s (FAC) annual conference this year, but confidence in the sector was as strong as ever.
A squadron of high-flying speakers addressed delegates with Jeremy Greaves, Vice President, UK Corporate Affairs and Strategy, at Airbus, delivering a payload of pragmatism and expert analysis.
The keynote speaker concurred with the FAC that Farnborough’s air show this year was hugely successful for British business, both for large companies and SMEs.
He said: “It was a good Farnborough which surprised many and in the first three days we signed civil aircraft deals worth more than the annual defence budget.”
He added: “We are aiming for 800 aircraft deliveries this year, which will be quite a challenge.”
Mr Greaves also confirmed that Airbus employs 2,700 workers directly in the south and south east upon which up to 8,000 jobs in the region depend.
As Airbus’s lead in the Brexit task force he warned about the negative impact it would have, but added: “There are huge opportunities; when the UK performs well it is hard to beat.”
Other speakers at the Tylney Hall venue near Hook in Hampshire included Professor James Scanlan, an industry veteran now working at the University of Southampton, and Peter Willis, a senior economist at ATI.
Stuart Stoter from the government’s UK Export Finance department, Ian Ferguson, an associate of Avascent, Nigel Pargiter from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Nicholas Altham from ADS also spoke to delegates.
In a full day’s programme there was also time for Rushmoor Borough Council’s leader David Clifford and Stephen Gregory from Airbus to speak.
Others who gave an insight from different perspectives were a team from the British Human-Powered Flight Club, Richard Noble OBE the founder of Bloodhound SSC who wants to get to a car to 1,000mph next year, and Air Vice-Marshall Johnny Stringer CBE.
David Barnes, CEO of the FAC said: “It was our 17th annual conference and was sold out weeks before.
“The speakers were all excellent and though we had a full day’s programme there was plenty of time for networking.
“We heard some really important insights from the experts who addressed us and our members will really benefit from them.
“One theme that came through was the unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit among the businesses we represent in the aerospace sector.
“Brexit was obviously a big issue, the circumstances of which were literally changing by the hour, and we enjoyed some robust question and answer sessions on this and other subjects.
“The feedback from the conference has been excellent and our membership is growing and we’d invite any company in aerospace or its supply chain to join us.”
The FAC supports around 300 companies, which are mainly SMEs based in the south and south east where the industry is centred.
Notes to editors
About the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium:
Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) is one of the longest established aerospace and defence trade associations in the UK.
It has circa 200 members nationally and internationally to serve its membership in the south and south east of England, the heart of UK aerospace.
Through its unrivalled experience and expertise, the FAC acts as an enabler for business between large primes and the supply chain – especially SMEs.
Its chairman is Sir Donald Spiers and its chief executive is David Barnes.
Address: FAC, The Council Offices, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 7JU
Phone: 01252 375600
For more information contact Ed Baker of Deep South Media on 07788392965