Japan International Aerospace Exhibition 2016 with UK Aviation

UK Aerospace Companies Have Much to Offer the Japanese Aviation Industry

Japan International Aerospace Exhibition 2016, which takes place every four years, was held from 12 through 15 October this year. There are a lot of changes happening in civil aviation around the globe and Japan is no exception.

With the Japanese Government committed to increasing inbound tourism by 2020, new airline partnerships being formed, and extra takeoff and landing slots opening up at Narita and Haneda airports, there are plenty of business opportunities in Japan for UK companies in the aviation industry.

DIT’s Head of Trade, Esther Williams, reassured Japanese buyers and industry experts that the UK is looking forward to continuing to work with Japan regardless of the result of the Brexit talks. Article 50 is expected to be triggered by the end of March 2017. Fintech, cybersecurity, and IoT are all priority sectors for the UK moving forward.

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An Overview of the UK’s Aerospace Industry

David Scotter, Director of Events & Market Development at ADS Group Ltd., gave key decision-makers in the Japanese aviation and aerospace industry an overview of the UK’s aerospace industry.

ADS (Aerospace, Defence, Security, Space) Group is the UK’s national trade association for UK companies in the aerospace sector with over 950 member companies across sectors, and they also run their own airshow in Farnborough every two years.

Members run the gamut from big international names such as Rolls Royce and BAE Systems, down to specialist and niche suppliers. ADS works with the UK Government to represent and develop business across those sectors.

The UK aerospace sector is one of the biggest in the world, being the largest in Europe and second only to the USA globally. It accounts for approximately 14% of the global market share and boasts a GBP 31 billion turnover in recent years, 27.4 billion of which has been exported out of the UK.

The growth and productivity in the aerospace sector is by far the best across all of the industries in the UK, and this highly skilled sector has seen a 7% growth between 2008 and 2013, and supports 230,000 jobs across the country.

UK Capability and Strengths in the Aerospace Sector

Companies in the UK aerospace industry possess a wide variety of capability and strengths and are involved in every aspect of aircraft development and production including wing technology, advanced systems (avionics, landing gear, actuation, fuel and power supply), propulsion, advanced helicopters, and also maintenance, repair and overhaul.

UK companies are among the top Airbus A350 XWB suppliers, providing engines, structures, composite parts and systems. A broad range of capabilities such as engines, systems and cabin interiors are also being provided for the manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Key business locations in the aerospace sector are spread across the country, generating revenue across all regions and providing employment in those areas.

UK Government and Industry Partnership

To secure the future of the UK aerospace industry over the next 20 years and beyond, the UK Government and the private sector have entered into a unique partnership.

This ambitious strategy is designed to ensure the UK remains number 1 in Europe and shows continued growth.

Government policy and support in the UK takes form in the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which comprises 4 key themes:

1. Securing funding for research and development from the Government and developing new technologies in the aerospace sector.
2. Ensuring people in the UK have the right skill base to work in this industry.
3. Upskilling and improving the efficiency of the supply chain. A number of programmes have already been developed to do that.
4. Keeping up with manufacturing. High-value catapult centres have been established across the UK to support this.

A wide range of Government departments are involved in this strategy. For example, 50% of support provided by UK Export Finance goes to the aerospace sector.

The Department for Transport is heavily involved in setting the regulations and regulatory environment in the sector, and also supports breakthrough drone technology.

Key sponsors of the Aerospace Growth Strategy programme include the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), while the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID) aid in creating optimal conditions for exporting the UK’s capabilities.

These Government departments are working closely with the private sector to provide strategic support and build and leverage relationships with aerospace companies.

In addition, Government grants have already been allotted and extended in order for research and development work to continue through to 2026. Having been matched by private sector spending, the total amount being invested in the UK aerospace sector over the next 10 years amounts to GBP 3.9 billion.

Of this sum, GBP 1.2 billion has been committed to research and development projects being carried out by unique organisations, small and medium enterprises, and research institutions by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

It is estimated that between 45,000 and 115,000 new jobs will have been created in this sector by the early 2030s.

The UK’s Catapult Programme, in which a network of universities and centres of excellence designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in
specific areas and help drive future economic growth, is also involved in the Aerospace Growth Programme.

Reasons to Work with the UK in Civil Aviation

The UK aerospace industry is well positioned to work within global programmes and emerging economies.

In addition, the world’s leading aerospace companies see the UK as a competitive environment for investment. Rolls Royce have opened 22 new manufacturing facilities in the UK, Airbus have ordered GBP 400 million worth of airplane wings from Welsh factories, and General Electric have expanded their investment into the UK by 25%.

ADS are looking to explore opportunities for Japanese companies to work with the Aerospace Technology Institute in the UK, while a number of UK companies attending the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition 2016 are seeking opportunities to work together with Japanese companies to provide expertise and a wide variety of services across the aerospace industry.

DIT Japan is available to make introductions, create connections, and introduce business opportunities and other opportunities for collaboration to UK aviation and aerospace companies.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is keen to identify which companies in Japan have the technology to work well with the UK, and is also keen to encourage Japanese inward investment into the UK.

With plans to build a 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport having been announced in October 2016, it is clear that there is a growing demand in aviation worldwide, and huge market opportunities to be found in this sector.


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Article and photo by Vanessa Holden, October 2016.