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UK Creates Aerospace Technology Institute

 - June 17, 2013, 2:45 AM

The UK government and key aerospace companies have formed a joint venture to invest more than £2 billion (approximately $3 billion) over the next seven years in a move designed to keep the country’s aerospace sector globally competitive, and to increase its market share. Under the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), the government’s £1 billion investment will be matched by industry and will see the creation of a new Aerospace Technology Institute.

Aerospace firms participating in AGP include AgustaWestland, Airbus, BAE Systems, Bombardier, GKN Aerospace, Goodrich Actuation Systems, Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, Rolls-Royce and Spirit Aerosystems. Michael Fallon, Minister of State at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace & Land Systems and vice president of ADS, the trade organization of the UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries, jointly chair the partnership.

The AGP’s stated goal is to preserve the UK’s number-two rank (behind the U.S.) as a global aerospace exporter and to remain number one in this market in Europe. The UK’s aerospace industry directly and indirectly employs some 230,000 workers. The AGP aims to “protect, exploit, and position” the UK to take maximum advantage of the forecast growth of commercial aerospace worldwide. The AGP expects the UK’s aerospace sector to grow at an annual rate of 6.8 percent in the coming years with the potential of creating 115,000 new jobs.

AGP’s ambitious agenda includes supporting UK companies at all levels of the supply chain to broaden and diversify their global customer base, and to “provide long-term certainty and stability to encourage industry to develop technologies for the next generation of aircraft in the UK.”

To that end, the AGP is funding the creation of an aerospace technology institute that will “exploit the UK’s assets and capabilities” and “strengthen the links between industry and academia,” while working on cutting-edge new programs and developing an aerospace talent pool.