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Midlands aerospace stands out on international industry stage

Farnborough Airshow 2022 proves the biggest and best for our region

 Farnborough Airshow 2022 panorama

 Panoramic view of the Midlands aerospace stand at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022

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Organisations from right across the aerospace, aviation and defence industries gathered at the Farnborough Airshow 2022 for the first time in four years and what a return it was. Despite soaring temperatures, every hall was bustling with activity and the MAA stand was a popular location for people wanting to see the latest products, services and innovations developed by companies across the Midlands aerospace cluster, which is renowned as one of the largest in the world.

We were delighted to have 26 excellent companies exhibiting alongside us, making our stand the biggest to date and a true reflection of the collaborative spirit of our region. Exhibitors fed back that, thanks to great teamwork, the show was a fantastic experience for all with companies reporting that it had helped strengthen their relationships in the industry, create new leads and sales.

“Thank you to the MAA team – another brilliantly organised event!” – Sigma

“Shoutout to the MAA team who worked hard on this event. The success of this year’s airshow is a team effort…and we are proud to be part of it” - Orscheln

“Team CCR had a superb week at the Farnborough Airshow. A big thank you has to go to the MAA for looking after us so well (as always). We couldn't do it without your help and support!” – CCR

A particular draw to the stand was an impressive wall dedicated to showcasing 100 new technologies and capabilities being delivered by Midlands companies and how this plays a key part in the future flightpath for aerospace where original solutions and sustainability are key drivers. SMEs in the region could also come to the area to meet MAA and University of Nottingham experts from the £20m Aerospace UP programme to scope out their own projects which could be fast tracked for funding to help give them a competitive advantage in a global market.

We were delighted to announce the award of 11 Aerospace UP innovation grants during the show to Brandauer, Blue Bear Systems Research, Gen 2 Carbon, Helix, Metron, A&M EDM, Wilson Bio-Chemical, Advances Innovative Engineering, HITEK, SHD Composite Materials and Condor Aviation. And, with additional eligible projects identified during the show, more will be announced imminently.

Our networking events proved a particular draw. Kicking off the networking were informal drinks on Monday which were a welcome way to cool off on one of the hottest days while making new connections early in the show. Tuesday’s Aerospace UP Networking Hour provided a moment to be proud of the how companies across the region are always innovating. Our first Farnborough Airshow dinner that evening was a huge success, with over 80 guests taking the opportunity to catch and strengthen their industry relationships in the fantastic surroundings of the Aviator hotel. Thank you to Bromford Group and CBE+ for sponsoring the event.

Our 20th anniversary reception on the Wednesday was also a major highlight and it was wonderful to celebrate our members’ favourite moments and to hear just what an impact being part of our collaborative network makes. We were also delighted to welcome new members who joined at the show, including Logistics World and Fanuc, and are sure they will enjoy being part of our supportive community.

Throughout the Airshow, there were a host other great events, initiatives and announcements that involved companies from across the Midlands. We were pleased to announce that Innovate UK’s Future Flight Programme has agreed to fund the Future Flight and Land Infrastructure Programme (FFLIP), taking forward the recharging infrastructure that electric drones and air taxis are going to need in conjunction. FFLIP is led by Midlands company Petalite and the MAA is an R&D partner. This great project is just one of the 17 which will share £73 million in funding to develop and demonstrate integrated aviation systems and new vehicle technologies.

In addition, the MAA and Aerospace UP teams are making an active contribution to the national Aerospace Growth Partnership's SME digitalisation initiative which was launched at the show. Two excellent examples of digitalisation in the aerospace industry were shared at the launch by MAA members, Technoset and G&O Springs. Both were key panel speakers representing an SME digitalisation point of view in terms of successes and challenges.

With such a great region to showcase, it’s no surprise that the MAA stand captured the interest of VIPs including industry primes such as Boeing, representatives from the Department for International Trade, the Aerospace Technology Institute and government ministers – including Pauline Latham MP for Mid Derbyshire, Jane Hunt MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets, and Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East – who were impressed by the scale of innovation in the region. Almost all our MAA Board directors were able to pay a special visit to meet members. We are particularly grateful to Steve McMulkin, MAA Director and Meggitt’s Group Head of Manufacturing Quality - Zero Defects, who arranged for some of our exhibitors to visit the Meggitt Chalet to meet his colleagues and network.

In addition, the MAA team spread our wings and visited other stands and events as well as holding meetings with key stakeholders and partners throughout the show. One of our favourite moments was a gathering of the five UK regional alliances who work closely with our national and the global aerospace community and supporting partners to address future supply chain solutions, international trade, sustainability and future initiatives to drive aerospace forward. There were also a number of virtual connections with contacts dialling in from a range of international connections as well as a virtual meeting at the Airshow between MAA chief Executive Andrew Mair and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands who, in a message of support for the Midlands aerospace cluster prior to the show, conveyed just how vital the sector is for future growth in the region.

Finally, on the Friday, we partnered with the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership to host the latest Global Aerospace Cluster Summit at Wax Chandlers Hall in London with colleagues from Europe, the Americas and Asia. It was a great to round off a big week with a global focus.

Thank you to everyone who visited our stand or connected with us during the week. It truly was our biggest and best Farnborough Airshow ever.

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