Business Irish

Saturday 18 November 2017

Sky's the limit for aerospace and aviation as sector grows

Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images

Sean Long

Worth over €4.1bn to the Irish economy, Ireland's aerospace and aviation industry is soaring to new heights. Irish lessors manage €80bn in assets worldwide and there are more than 250 companies involved in the aerospace, aviation and space sectors in Ireland, providing employment for around 42,000 full-time workers.

That number is set to grow further, as Dublin Aerospace, Ireland's largest independent aircraft maintenance provider, has announced that it will create 150 new jobs over the next three years. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, the expansion of Dublin Aerospace's workforce is part of the company's strategy to double its turnover by 2023.

With over 50pc of the industry's global spend managed by aircraft leasing companies based in Ireland, the country is uniquely positioned to drive the industry's innovation.

Sean Phelan, director at QCD Solutions, a global sourcing supply chain and Lean consulting company, describes the opportunity: "The world fleet of commercial aircraft is forecast to nearly double to 40,000 aircraft by 2036, with a projected value of $5.5trn.

"There is additional demand for 35,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, to replace existing aircraft and support new aircraft requirements. That creates significant opportunities for Irish aerospace supply-chain companies to secure long-term contracts on the aircraft programmes that will meet this demand.

"As of September, the aerospace industry has a backlog of firm orders for 6991 Airbus aircraft and 5659 Boeing aircraft already placed. Bombardier's potential deal with Airbus also promises additional opportunities to the Irish aerospace supply chain."

Ireland has around 115 active Enterprise Ireland-backed companies within the sector, including CAE Parc Aviation, The Botany Weaving Mill, Ohshima, Eirtech Aviation Services, Inflight Audio, Takumi Precision Engineering, Dawnlough, DPF and Eirecomposites, paving the way for other startups to consider Ireland as a location to conduct business. At the Dublin Aerospace announcement, Tánaiste and Business, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Frances Fitzgerald affirmed the national importance of the sector,

Ireland has a growing reputation for innovation and service excellence within the aerospace and aviation industry which is itself experiencing rapid growth. Its established supply chain includes both prime and tier 1 companies, including Bombardier, Rockwell Collins, and Thales. The growth of the aviation and aerospace sector has been driven by the unique strengths Irish companies offer, including a continuous investment in developing the skills of a highly-educated and adaptable workforce, and a focus on research, development and innovation.

These strengths are central to what Enterprise Ireland defines as the Irish Advantage and help companies within the sector to win business.

David Quin, Supply Chain Director at Rockwell Collins, echoes the advantages of working with companies in Ireland. "At Rockwell Collins in Kilkeel, we procure over €20m from our Irish supply base. This success is based on a responsive and collaborative approach to our supply chain solutions and the reliable delivery of high-quality parts."

There is significant potential for Irish exporters to further build ambitious and successful partnerships in key international markets.

Enterprise Ireland supports that work with presences at the world-renowned Farnborough, Dubai and Paris Air Shows, including a dedicated Aviation Aerospace Ireland pavilion. To support the development of Irish aerospace supply chain programmes, Irish companies are encouraged to expand their quality processes, procedures and management styles in line with established international aerospace standards such as SC21 and AS9100, endorsed by mentoring programmes from key prime and tier 1 companies, such as Bombardier and Rockwell Collins.

Sean Long is Senior UK Market Adviser Engineering and Electronics at Enterprise Ireland

Sunday Indo Business

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