by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Companies in the aerospace supply chain are given opportunity to establish new contacts with some of the sector’s biggest companies including Airbus, Bombardier and Thales, today in Belfast. Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy joined aerospace companies in signing the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, taking signatories across the UK to 80.


Today in Belfast, companies from across the aerospace supply chain had the opportunity to hear from some of the industry’s biggest and most important companies, and participate in a meet the buyer programme aimed at creating new opportunities for growth.

The aerospace sector makes an important contribution to the economy in Northern Ireland, with companies including Bombardier, Thales, Collins Aerospace and Airbus among significant investors.

Attendees at the “Growing the Aerospace Industry in 2019 – Challenges and Opportunities” event at Titanic Belfast, hosted by ADS and Invest Northern Ireland, heard from Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary, Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt,  Bombardier VP Procurement & Supply Chain Ciara Kennedy, and Airbus UK Senior Vice President Katherine Bennett CBE.

At the event there was a signing ceremony for bodies and companies based in Northern Ireland to join the other 75 signatories in the industry and sign up to the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter. The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter is a commitment from those in the aviation and aerospace industries to improve gender balance across their organisations, recognising the outstanding contribution of women in the aerospace industry. Today, the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy signed the Charter, alongside aerospace SMEs IPC Mouldings, Denroy Plastics, Moyola Precision Engineering and Bradfor.

In the afternoon, supply chain companies had the opportunity to participate in the Meet the Buyer programme where they could meet with Bombardier in a 1:1 meeting.

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“Today we brought opportunities in the global aerospace industry to Belfast. ADS is working closely with Government and major international aerospace companies to give suppliers in Northern Ireland the chance to access new business.

“Northern Ireland’s Partnering for Growth has been a great success; driving productivity improvements and generating new product innovation at all levels of the aerospace and defence supply chain. It has been fantastic to see companies working together to secure new international business and helping to secure domestic jobs and prosperity.

“The importance of women in our industry was also recognised, with more companies signing up to the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter. The Charter continues to demonstrate the strong commitment of the industry to gender balance and creating an environment where all can prosper.”

Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary, Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland said:

“The Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland supports the pledge for a fairer and more balanced aviation and aerospace industry for women. We will encourage local companies to sign up to the principles of the charter.

“Aerospace plays an increasingly important role in the Northern Ireland economy, employing around 10,000 people and generating revenues of £1.4 billion annually. It is an ambitious sector that has well established and strong international partnerships, founded on innovation, and quality performance.

“Today, we have a strong aerospace cluster of almost 100 companies spread across Northern Ireland. In conjunction with ADS, Invest Northern Ireland has been working closely with this cluster for many years, to enhance competitiveness and support continued growth.”

Bombardier VP Procurement & Supply Chain Ciara Kennedy said:

“Today’s event highlights the significance of the aerospace sector in Northern Ireland and the importance of developing a world-class supply chain. Together with Government, ADS, and other aerospace companies, we are committed to creating an environment that ensures the right skills, technologies and infrastructures are in place to help suppliers attract investment, compete for new business, and support the local economy.

“Bombardier is delighted to see further signatories today to the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter. Growing our industry presents many challenges and opportunities, and we must continue to explore ways to improve gender equality and empower more women within aerospace.”

Katherine Bennett CBE, Senior Vice President of Airbus UK said:

“Airbus has been relying on Northern Ireland’s aerospace sector talent for many years. And following our new partnership on A220, the region is more important to us than ever.

“We’re delighted also to see more companies committing to driving gender diversity in aerospace and aviation by signing up to the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter.  From the shop floor to the boardroom, we hope this will be the beginning of seeing more women in Northern Ireland working in this brilliant sector.”

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