Dubai Air Show

ADS makes debut as the new face of UK industry

 - November 12, 2009, 9:24 PM

Britain’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security (ADS) trade association is making
its airshow debut here in Dubai this week (UK Pavilion, Stand W128A). The group formally began operations last month following the merger of the Society of British Aerospace Companies, the Association of Police and Public Security Suppliers and the Defence Manufacturers Association.

ADS is led by president Alex Dorrian of Thales UK and its chairman Ian Godden. The new group has four vice presidents heading its four sectors: civil aviation (Tony Wood of Rolls-Royce), defense (Sandy Wilson of General Dynamics UK), security (Stephen Phipson of Smiths Detection) and space (Richard Peckham of EADS Astrium).

In an interview with AIN, Godden acknowledged that these are challenging times for the four sectors represented by ADS. “Civil aviation is looking at a difficult 2010 and we expect to see the trough [in demand] in 2011, followed by recovery in 2012,” he said. “Companies have made the necessary adjustments to deal with this cycle but the biggest difficulty is the continued uncertainty [about future market conditions].”

According to the ADS chairman, there is still strong growth in the defense sector but it is now facing “severe threats” in terms of pending cuts in public spending, which are after-shocks from the global financial crisis. “At the moment there is a disconnect between the current levels of [production] and discussions about future demand which are quite depressing,” said Godden. “There could be cuts in research-and-development spending and next year will be crucial in terms of these decisions.

“Security is the one bright light, but governments need to be clear on the priorities in this area, and both government and industry need to be clear on what the actual capabilities are,” he added. “Fragmentation between the authorities involved in security is an issue here.” While there has been continued growth in the space sector, ADS is concerned that some manned initiatives are being reconsidered.

Godden said that the Middle East continues to be a very important marketplace for ADS companies. They are achieving rising volumes of exports especially in the defense and space sectors.

Meanwhile, the group recently opened a new advanced engineering regional office in Bangalore, India, to complement its existing office in the capital New Dehli. The Bangalore office will help UK firms to access the Indian market and is run by Ashok Saxeena.