Aerospace an Attractive Proposition

The UK aerospace industry remains attractive on global markets despite political uncertainty.

A recent report from Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) shows that UK is in the top four nations in terms of investment potential in the aerospace industry.

The Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness report took account of such factors as cost, economy, infrastructure and labour. The USA was ranked in top position, followed by Canada, Singapore and then UK, being the top European nation in the list.

The analysis took into consideration geopolitical risks, such as Brexit, with the UK judged to remain a strong investment competitor as a result of its robust Aerospace & Defence industry.

Roland Sonnenberg, head of UK aerospace and defence at PwC, commented “We’ve seen a lot of speculation that uncertainty over Brexit terms and the potential disruption to global supply chains may impact the ability to attract global investment but this analysis shows that the UK continues to be a strong competitor when it comes to investment.”

There is nonetheless some fragility in the sector with a heavy dependence on continued Government investment. The Future Flight Challenge initiative saw a Government commitment of £125m for new aerospace technology and a further £2 billion has been pledged for the next generation fighter jet, “Tempest”.

With commitments and pledges being swift to evaporate during political uncertainties, with Brexit still in a state of uncertainty and an election on the horizon, the industry is understandably reticent to bank its future on pledges and commitments.

Speaking at an open forum recently, Tim Figures of Make UK (formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation) discussed the implications of Brexit and pointed out that the present uncertainty over timings and potential outcomes is likely to persist for some time.

“The prospect of exiting the EU with no deal has not gone away despite efforts in Parliament to prevent it so manufacturers should certainly not stop preparing for it,” he says.

Pundits like PwC may be bullish about the future of UK aerospace manufacturing but the political risks persist and will certainly continue throughout the change-over to whatever outcome the Brexit process may hold. The pragmatic approach favoured by Make UK at least allows companies to envisage and plan for the darker routes through political uncertainty.

Jonathan Newell
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