Midlands suppliers tip 2011 for aerospace recovery

MIDLANDS aerospace suppliers expect their markets to be recovering in 2011 after stabilising in 2010, an MAA survey has shown. But companies also recognise that they face numerous challenges, including financial and internal capacity and capability, if they are to take advantage of renewed global industry growth.


MIDLANDS aerospace suppliers expect their markets to be recovering in 2011 after stabilising in 2010, an MAA survey has shown. But companies also recognise that they face numerous challenges, including financial and internal capacity and capability, if they are to take advantage of renewed global industry growth.

These were among the conclusions of a survey carried out in March as part of the Advantage West Midlands aerospace cluster forum and MAA members meeting in Birmingham.

The survey revealed that although the economic downturn has caused widespread financial pressure, it hit the aerospace business of Midlands suppliers less between 2008 and 2009 than it affected their sales to other sectors. While more than half those polled said business dropped off in that period, turnover from aerospace and defence tended to be more stable and nearly 60 per cent experienced steady or growing aerospace sales.

Half of companies expect that both overall business turnover and aerospace and defence turnover will rise – albeit marginally for most — between 2009 and 2010, with a further 30 per cent anticipating flat markets. Analysis of the anticipated rate of change shows that relative stability is forecast by six in 10 companies for overall turnover and aerospace and defence turnover, and by four in five for employment – in general, a steep downturn for some, a shallow upturn for many. Six in 10 companies expect an upturn in aerospace markets in 2011.

While their markets are diversified, Midlands aerospace suppliers depend largely on the major aircraft programmes of Airbus and Boeing, together with Rolls-Royce which in the Midlands supplies engines largely to these two airframers and it is these programmes – Airbus A350 with its Trent XWB engine, Boeing 787 with its Trent 1000 engine – that will drive growth.