SBAC: UK aerospace sets record orders

 - November 27, 2006, 6:02 AM

The UK aerospace industry has had a “phenomenal year” according to Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) president Chris Geoghegan.

In a report on the state of the industry released just before the Farnborough show, Geoghegan said there had been substantial increases in revenues, employment, research and development (R&D) investment and record levels of new orders.

Direct employment grew by nine percent in 2005, to 124,237, with 9,900 new jobs created on the back of a 25-percent increase in sales. The UK industry is second only in size to that of the U.S., said the SBAC.

Other highlights included a record 33-percent growth in new orders, to £30.7 billion ($56.8 billion), a 15 percent increase in productivity and aerospace defense sales up 30 percent, to $22.5 billion.

Research and development investment rose 31 percent, to $4.9 billion, while revenues grew by 25-percent, to almost $50 billion.

The SBAC is promoting the UK National Aerospace Technology Strategy (NATS) at Farnborough, which has attracted $242 million-worth of investment from the government and regional development agencies, with matching support from industry.

NATS aims to ensure the technology generated by the UK science base flows through to the aerospace industry, with particular emphasis on the environment, safety and security.

Programs supported by NATS include the environmentally friendly engine, integrated wing and autonomous systems technology, the latter focusing on enabling unmanned air vehicles to operate “safely and routinely” in UK airspace.

The NATS strategy is implemented through aerospace innovation and growth networks and aerospace technology validation programs, designed to demonstrate and integrate new technologies to reduce downstream risk.