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Midlands aerospace companies demonstrate greener aviation commitment

UK Business Minister Paul Scully MP makes first visit to the Midlands as sector lead for aerospace

MAA member company, Meggitt, a leading international aerospace company specialising in high-performance components and subsystems, recently welcomed Paul Scully MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, to its new headquarters at Ansty Park in the Midlands. MAA Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Mair, joined the discussions and tour along with eight of our aerospace SMEs.

This was Minister Scully’s first site visit in his new role as the Business Department’s sector lead for aerospace.

Meggitt Chief Executive, Tony Wood, shared details of the company’s investments in sustainable aviation and manufacturing in support of the Government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. Minister Scully was shown how additively manufactured thermal systems will play a major part in the roadmap to sustainable aviation.

The MAA then held a roundtable with the Minister and the eight Midlands aerospace SMEs, highlighting the significant role the industry’s supply chain are playing in delivering net-zero targets.

We had productive discussions around how aerospace companies are recovering from the pandemic and the uptake of Government support that has been made available. As the aerospace industry has long production cycles, it is expected to be impacted for longer than many other sectors. Therefore, companies called for government financial support to be extended to protect the working capital needed for the coming recovery.

Conversations then moved onto the longer-term needs of the industry which centred around the importance of creating a greener aerospace sector. We discussed how investing in supply chain innovation would be a vital enabler for the government’s aim of regional “levelling” because many funding programmes focus on the primes (OEMS) and miss out smaller companies that, together, can have a huge impact. The MAA team put forward a strong case for more innovation funding to be made available to these companies.

The roundtable with Minister Scully follows on from many other meetings the MAA has facilitated as part of our mission to get the voice of the Midlands aerospace heard by key, national decision makers.

Another key meeting held recently, arranged by Make UK, was with the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey.

A dozen SMEs, along with Dr Andrew Mair, joined the session to share insights into current business conditions within aerospace, with MAA members Simon Beech, Chief Operating Officer, Nasmyth, and Matthias Meyer, Managing Director, Heller Machine Tools, stepping forward as key spokespeople for the industry – and making the same point to the Governor about the risk of a shortfall of working capital to fund the future recovery of aerospace supply chains.

Business Minister Paul Scully said:

“It has been fantastic to see how Meggitt are developing high-tech aircraft components which will pave the way for clean aviation and greener operations, as well as creating high-skilled jobs in the Midlands. Supporting innovative pioneers like Meggitt is essential in helping us level up every part of the UK and build back greener from the pandemic.”

MAA Chief Executive Dr Andrew Mair added:

“The smaller MAA members at the meeting very much welcomed that Minister Scully was keen to understand all the good work our whole aerospace supply chain is contributing to greener aerospace and aviation. An important part of our role at the MAA is to foster communication and our members gave the minister a superb first-hand feel for the challenges they face with some ideas for how government could help them, which the minister acknowledged.”

At the MAA’s invitation, Minister Scully will now meet with other regional aerospace alliances across the UK.

BEIS Minister Paul Scully at Meggitt

Minister Paul Scully visits Meggitt's new Ansy Park facility