Paris Air Show: Cautious optimism for post-Brexit aerospace
Despite continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, figures released by ADS Group suggest strong growth in the UK aerospace industry and hint at future investments in UK combat aircraft.
The UK defence sector, which is the largest exporter of defence equipment and services in Europe and second only to the US globally, reported an annual turnover of £23 billion for 2016, according to ADS figures.
Other positive market indications included the 10% growth of the industry since 2010 and average exports between 2012 and 2015 valued at £8.7 billion, a 12% increase on the previous year despite a year of political instability in the UK.
Further to the return of a hung parliament on 8 June, ADS chief executive Paul Everitt called on the government to establish a ‘more collaborative approach’ to negotiations and emphasised the need to ‘build a strong consensus on the priorities and options for a successful Brexit’.
Whilst cautioning that a ‘no deal’ outcome in the Brexit negotiations would be the worst outcome for the UK aerospace industry, Everitt downplayed fears of short-term economic impacts caused by uncertainty during Brexit negotiations.
Everitt emphasised that the long-term business cycle of the industry reduces the likelihood of significant short-term shifts in investment levels or business and employment strategies within the industry.
However, he reaffirmed ADS’s belief that the UK’s continued presence in the European military framework and core European defence, R&D and space programmes is vital for strong growth and development within the industry.