The British aerospace industry has made many important contributions to the history of aircraft, and was solely or jointly responsible for the development and production of the first aircraft with an enclosed cabin (the Avro Type F), as well as the first jet aircraft to enter service for the Allies in the Second World War (the Gloster Meteor).
The UK’s aerospace industry has now been propelled to a position of global excellence by a combination of winning ideas, innovation and talent; and more than 3,000 aerospace companies operate in the UK, including BAE Systems, GKN and Rolls-Royce. Other international companies with operations in the UK include: Airbus, Cobham, AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica, Thales, Boeing, and Bombardier.
The aerospace sector employs high technology techniques and attracts a highly qualified workforce and has the largest number of small and medium sized enterprise (SME) companies in Europe. Also as an important exporting industry, aerospace has benefited from support from UKEF. In 2013/14, UKEF issued guarantees for the aerospace industry of £961 million. This helped to support the delivery of 95 aircraft to 22 companies. Furthermore, UKEF provided support for 15% of all aircraft delivered by Airbus.
The UK aerospace industry is expected to grow over the next few years. This is driven by a global growth in air traffic, which is expected to be at a rate of 4.7% per annum between now and 2030, meaning a doubling in air traffic in the next 15 years.
By 2032 it is estimated that worldwide more than 29,000 new large civil airliners, 24,000 business jets, 5,800 regional aircraft and 40,000 helicopters will be required.
‘Technical competence is at the core of a successful aerospace engineering career’
Professional development is strongly supported by aerospace engineering companies because they recognise the importance of enhancing engineering skills and achievements.
A career in aerospace engineering is both challenging and rewarding, there is a huge opportunity to develop skills in specialist areas whilst working on high profile projects of superior professional standards, for example, aerospace engineers are currently working on space vehicles and satellites. Spacecraft and satellite manufacturing has become more important recently. The United Kingdom is involved in a number of major space activities through partnerships with the United States and other countries.