Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's strong aerospace history contributes £1bn to economy

By Leslie Orr

In scale, Northern Ireland is one of the strongest aerospace regions in Europe.

ADS NI has 74 member companies and the sector contributes over £1bn to the economy.

Bombardier in Belfast is the backbone of the industry and a catalyst for growth for the entire supply chain.

Industry and government work well together growing this high-value, high-technology sector.

We have launched the Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth Strategy with the goal of doubling the size of the industry here in the next 10 years and last week Bombardier Belfast and B/E Aerospace in Kilkeel launched a supply chain cluster programme under the Supply Chain 21 scheme.

Over 160 delegates took part in the SC21 Supply Chain Excellence conference and awards event in Titanic Belfast.

Representatives from major global aerospace companies including Cobham, Mitsubishi Materials and GKN attended the event to learn more about Northern Ireland's aerospace sector.

Airbus also outlined its future supply chain strategy and the positive impact the SC21 programme will have on its supply base.

Last month, senior officials from Boeing, and one of its major supply chain companies, spent four days in Northern Ireland visiting eight firms, including Hutchinson Aerotech and Datum Tool Design. Boeing is searching for global partners to work with it to develop new technologies for its future aircraft, and to strengthen its supply chain in support of its growing order book. Boeing has more than 250 suppliers in the UK and spent £1bn with them in 2013.

Dr Leslie Orr is NI Manager of ADS, the trade association for firms in aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.

Belfast Telegraph