Belfast Telegraph

How we're riding high with airline innovations

By Dr Leslie Orr

The fact that high-level staff from JetBlue, one of the fastest growing carriers in America, have been to Northern Ireland in person to see what our companies can offer is a good sign.

Our companies, like Thompson Aero Seating, are not just making parts for the aerospace industry, they are doing innovative and unique things which are making global companies sit up, take notice and come to investigate for themselves.

Aircraft interiors are big business. The attention to detail and the quality is of utmost importance, it is a very competitive part of the market so it is even more impressive that a Northern Ireland company has been selected to carry out this work.

Thompson Aero Seating is doing something novel and for such a small place we have an abundance of companies doing novel things.

UK aerospace has a 17% global market share, making it the number one aerospace industry in Europe and second only to the USA.

The sector generates over £24bn of UK revenues and Northern Ireland contributes nearly £1bn to this total and therefore in scale is one of the top aerospace regions.

In Northern Ireland there are over 8,000 people employed directly in the sector, which contributes to 20% of the province's annual exports.

As well as Thompson Aero seating our companies include Bombardier, B/E Aerospace, Aero Engine Controls, RLC Group, Magellan Aerospace and Survitec Group, which all have substantial Aerospace operations in Northern Ireland.

With a global requirement for over 27,000 new passenger aircraft in the coming years, it is important that companies, funding bodies, trade organisations, education authorities and government departments work together to promote the industry here.

Belfast Telegraph