Enterprise Minister recognises success of Northern Ireland aerospace and defence sector

Picture: Press Eye Photography

Pictured with Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is Rees Ward CB, Chief Executive Officer ADS.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has recognised the importance and success of Northern Ireland’s aerospace, defence and security sectors to the economy during an event in Parliament Buildings.

Speaking to senior executives and key influencers from both the local and global aerospace industry the Minister said: “Aerospace and defence are strategically important for Northern Ireland in terms of their commitment to advanced manufacturing, innovation, exports and skills.

“It’s among our most successful clusters with a successful track record of working with global aerospace and defence companies, including Airbus, Bombardier and BAE Systems, on developing and manufacturing sophisticated components and in providing specialist services such as design and stress analysis.

“At the core of the local industry are two of the industry’s leaders, Bombardier and Thales, the continued growth of which is essential to the future development of aerospace and defence here. I am particularly keen to encourage and to assist the growth of the industry through closer collaboration between these major businesses and the cluster of smaller aerospace and defence companies here.

“Indeed I believe the opportunity for closer collaboration between all businesses is significant. Greater collaboration throughout the sector, which Invest NI and ADS NI is facilitating, could lead to more success for Northern Ireland in a global industry which continues to experience significant growth.”

Rees Ward, Chief Executive of ADS, said: “If ever there was a part of UK manufacturing which punches above its weight, it is Northern Ireland’s aerospace, defence and security sectors. Employing 7,500 people these sectors contribute almost £1bn per year to the economy – meaning each employee contributes almost £130,000 per year in revenue output.

“In 2010, over 90% (£860million) of ADS Northern Ireland members’ revenue came through exports. With the global aerospace market demonstrating real growth during this period of economic difficulty, Northern Ireland is well set to increase its export potential and create new jobs.”