UK aerospace trade set to soar as Farnborough AirShow deals blossom

 
Sebastian McCarthy
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A visiter takes a selfie with the Eurofighter Typhoon which is set to be replaced by a new sixth-generation fighter jet

Aerospace is the UK’s second fastest growing export sector, according to new research which comes in the week of the industry's biggest event of the year.


Exports in the aerospace sector are set to grow 3.7 per cent a year up until 2021, making the sector second in its growth only to food and beverage exports, data from Wyelands Bank and the Global Trade Review has found.

Last year aerospace exports from the UK were worth $21.5bn (£16.3bn), with projected growth potentially generating an extra £796m a year.

Read more: Rolls-Royce unveils 'flying taxi'

Fueling the demand in exports were Germany, France and the US, with imports from the UK worth $5.5bn, $4bn and $3.8bn respectively.


Aerospace tipped other major industry exports to second-place, such as precious metals, car manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, all of which have traditionally played a large role in boosting Britain’s trade balance.

The findings come as the Farnborough AirShow, considered to be the most important event of the year for the aerospace and defence industry, has seen a bumper level of defence deals being made in its opening two days.

On Monday defence secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled post-Brexit plans for a sixth-generation fighter jet to spearhead the UK’s ambitions of remaining a tier one defence power, while major US plane makers Boeing and Airbus have also secured a series of multi-billion pound deals so far this week.

Read more: Next-generation fighter jet unveiled in post-Brexit boost for UK defence

While Europe remains the UK’s biggest regional trading partner for exports with a 46.3 per cent share, the fastest growing market is Asia Pacific, where exports are expected to grow at 3 per cent a year to 2021.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told City A.M: "We bang the drum for our world-leading defence industry right across the globe, supporting our companies in securing contracts for UK-made equipment. With a mix of skills and technologies unique in Europe, the British combat air sector supports over 18,000 highly skilled jobs, makes more than £6bn a year and has made up over 80 per cent of UK defence exports over ten years."

Iain Hunter, chief executive of of Wyelands Bank, said: "Behind these headline economic figures, trade is important because it enables companies to grow. However, in order for businesses to succeed, they need working capital. It is only by providing better access to funding that we can support businesses to trade and grow."

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