The World's Oldest Aerospace Region Has A Lot To Offer

Following on from a highly successful participation at the Berlin Air Show in May, Aerospace Northern Ireland, have announced their intention to represent the region at AIRTEC 2006, with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

An international supply fair for the aerospace industry is scheduled to take place in Frankfurt, Germany on the 17-20th October and will attract a wide range of suppliers and buyers from across the world.

Speaking at the press conference in Frankfurt today, about what the region has to offer, Michael Polson, Head of Aerospace with Invest Northern Ireland, said:

“In Northern Ireland we have a long-standing history of success within the aerospace industry starting with the Short Brothers winning the first aircraft manufacturing licence from the Wright Brothers in 1909 for six Wright Flyers.

“Shorts is now an integral part of Bombardier Aerospace, the world’s third civil aircraft manufacturer and global leader in the regional and business aircraft markets.  As well as producing major aircraft structures and engine nacelles for other international manufacturers, the Belfast operation has a major design and manufacturing work share in all of Bombardier’s families of aircraft, in which many other local NI companies are also involved.

“Other historical developments for the industry that have originated in NI include the Martin Baker ejector seat and the first ever front vertical take off aircraft. At Invest NI we are working with businesses operating within the industry to help achieve greater international recognition and promote the industry’s leading edge capabilities, skills and expertise at a global level.”

Employing over 7,200 people within NI, in over 40 different companies, the sector is growing year on year and has a combined turnover of almost €1.1 billion.

Key sector companies include Bombardier, Thales, B/E Aerospace, Raytheon, Goodrich, Survitec, plus a diverse range of high precision component manufacturers servicing not only these businesses but globally recognised brands such as Airbus, Boeing and BAE Systems.

Northern Ireland also boasts world class universities which have contributed enormous intellectual capital to the development of the sector.

“Our world class universities provide a stream of aeronautical engineers that work not only in the locally based companies but across the global supply chain.  

Queens University has a unique strategic research partnership with Dassault Systems and is currently developing key capabilities in modelling and simulation in terms of performance, manufacturing process and costs.

“The University of Ulster also has significant capabilities in composites design especially in advanced textile and 3D woven preforms,” continued Polson.  

Other key products manufactured locally include all the business and economy seating for British Airways and Cathay Pacific, through B/E Aerospace, with their local base of operations being the largest seating manufacturing facility in the world.

Local companies like Huddleston, Moyola, Maydown and Langford Lodge are leading the way in terms of high precision engineering capability and have invested significantly in high and 5 axis thin wall machining technology from Makino and D S Technology.

These companies are supported within NI by a sectoral infrastructure of design businesses like Datum Design, Inbis and Morsons, complemented by the stress engineering skills of Belfast Aircraft Stress Engineers.

With well established track records and strong reputations within the International aerospace industry, companies like Huddleston and Moyola provide products and services for globally recognised brands such as Airbus and Boeing.

“Northern Ireland can provide a one stop shop solution for your aerospace needs. Possessing a hardworking, well established work force combined with state-of-the-art IT infrastructure including 100% Broadband capability, the region can serve Europe with products and services that will more than exceed client expectation,” concluded Polson.   

Invest NI will launch a new CD Rom promoting the region’s aerospace capabilities and we will be located at stand I 111 in hall 8 at AIRTEC 2006.