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Advanced Engineering, Aerospace and Defence

Nationally it is the largest aerospace and defence cluster in the UK. It provides 59,000 direct jobs in the South West, sales at £5.5 billion of which £64 million is in the South West, £2.6 billion in UK and £2.75 billion exported.

Key West of England facts

  • 23,400 jobs
  • £1.04 billion GVA
  • 111% growth in productivity since 2000
  • 1,500 manufacturing enterprises, with output roughtly 20% higher than it is nationally and 30% above the West of England economy as a whole
  • 14 of the 15 world's leading aerospace companies have supply chains here
  • Largest UK aerospace and defence cluster, and one of the largest concentrations of aerospace activities in Europe

Key companies involved in the sector

  • Airbus
  • Rolls Royce
  • Claverham
  • GKN Aerospace
  • MBDA
  • GE
  • Safran Messier Dowty Bugatti
  • Agustawestland
  • Cobham
  • Meggitt
  • Flybe, the largest European airline is based in the SW

Sector overview

We have been a cradle of aviation innovation since the British Empire and Colonial Aeroplane Company opened in Filton in 1910. With over 100 years of continuous development, design and manufacture, it is currently home to Airbus, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Honeywell, Safran and Claverham Ltd – amongst the top 14 aerospace companies in the world.

It has an extensive supply chain providing materials, components and technical support and services, both within the region and further afield through the South West and rest of the UK. It also receives benefits from the presence of support organisations such as WEAF, EEF, and SEMTA.

The commercial sector is substantial and growing. With the international investment programmes that can be applied to, it is not unreasonable to aspire to the sector doubling in size in the next ten years. The shape and technology of the industry will change but in 25 years could see the sector double again in size and scale. There are very strong reasons why it is located here and the potential for growing both the number of international customers and supply chain is huge.

The Government recognises this sector as a significant element of the UK economy as it endeavours to move towards manufacturing and exports.

Sector group information

The sector group is voluntary, made up of members from aerospace and defence companies, including those outside the LEP area to reflect the West of England LEP's position as leading on aerospace. Those outside include TUC, EEF, Gloucestershire First, Flybe and Newquay Airport.

For more information please contact Melissa Houston

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