South West Aerospace thriving with Virtual Reality and international investment

Airbus developing VR suite and Wing Integration centre

Region building on investment with aerospace giants

The South West aerospace cluster, one of the largest in Europe, is open for international business with all six Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) in the South West attending the Farnborough International Airshow from 11 to 17 July 2016.

“The show offers companies from our region an opportunity to showcase products and capabilities to an international audience,” said Barry Warburton, Aerospace Sector Specialist for Invest Bristol & Bath, “and although the issues around Brexit are not far from our thoughts, the South West aerospace cluster remains a leading destination for global investment due to our strengths in cutting-edge technologies and leading talent pool that supports the aerospace agenda internationally.”

The South West continues to attract investment in what is a challenging time for the UK’s aerospace industry.  Just this year Airbus announced its plans to open a new ‘state of the art’ Wing Integration Centre at Filton, which is due to open in 2018, and a new Virtual Reality (VR) suite, which was commissioned in April 2016.

The VR suite builds on the capabilities in the region, which has a growing reputation as the European HQ for VR.

“Virtual reality offers a huge opportunity for the aerospace industry,” says Ben Trewhella, MD of Opposable Group and VR World Congress.  “VR technology offers an innovative solution for the aerospace industry to test and train in a safe and cost effective environment. Throw in the leading-edge work being done across the region including robotics and composites and the South West is a global destination for investment.”

A view that is echoed by John Pritchard, CEO Aerostructures Europe (GKN Aerospace), who sits on the West of England LEP Board; “The South West is home to all 15 international giants of aerospace and a strong network of world-class supply chain companies which today is worth over £7bn. In partnership with our inward investment partners from across the region, we will be flying the flag for the South West ensuring we remain the leading aerospace cluster in Europe and beyond.