On Wednesday, the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Aviation (facilitated by ADS Scotland) met to discuss the UK Aviation Strategy, the place of Scotland within this, and the role the Scottish Government can play in the development of the UK’s aviation and aerospace sectors.
Scotland has a substantial aviation industry, with major airports including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and important aerospace companies, such as Rolls-Royce and those based around the Prestwick aerospace cluster, including BAE Systems, Spirit Aerosystems and UTC.
Firstly, the Airport Operators’ Association gave a presentation outlining the UK’s Aviation Strategy, and their objectives. Key points were the need to ensure:
- Good surface access for travel to and from airports reliably, easily and safely.
- A robust framework for growth, ensuring that the right incentives are in place and that aviation is not disadvantaged disproportionately.
- Airspace modernisation, to ensure more efficient use of the available airspace and a reduction in CO2 emissions.
- Reviewing passport control and border crossings at airports, so that reliable and effective systems are in place.
ADS then outlined how Scottish Aerospace should be promoted within the context of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, and particularly the development of an Aerospace Sector Deal, which the Prime Minister announced at Farnborough. ADS’s goals include:
- Support for the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), established in 2010 as a strategic partnership between industry, academia and government, representing a shared long-term commitment to maintain and grow the UK’s position as a world-leading aerospace industry.
- Ensuring the continued competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry through the continuation and development of industry support programmes, including Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21), Sharing in Growth (SiG), the National Aerospace Exploitation Programme (NATEP), and promoting the Supply Chain Competitiveness Charter to strength relationships between leading civil aerospace companies and their suppliers.
- Working towards the development of an Aerospace Sector Deal, including further funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) past 2026, and bidding for funding from the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge Fund through the proposed Amy Johnson and Brunel Challenges.
- Bringing together the aims of the Department for Transport (DfT)’s future Aviation Strategy and the goals of the Industrial Strategy, in order to coordinate future activity and deliver on the economic growth and policy objectives of both.
- Committing to building a more balanced and fair industry for women by launching the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, reflecting the aspiration to see gender balance at all levels across the industry by driving diversity and inclusion within the sector.
These are goals across the entire UK aerospace industry, and we welcome the interest and engagement of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government in ensuring they are delivered.