The Scottish aerospace industry is dominated by the highly successful MRO hub around Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.
The International Aerospace Park at Prestwick is a purpose built facility located on a strategic MRO facility and has ready made communications and infrastructure.
Significant MRO activity also takes place at Glasgow Airport, home to the maintenance centre for British Airways narrow-body fleet of aircraft, Edinburgh Airport and substantial helicopter MRO work at Aberdeen Airport – all of which have MRO expansion capabilities.
Scotland’s competitive advantage
Scotland has seen significant investment from many of the world’s largest aerospace companies for a number of reasons:
- Access to a highly-skilled workforce, developed through a long history of aerospace involvement and underpinned by a supply chain of new skills provided through specialist training programmes and colleges
- Comparitivley low costs base when compared against other European nations
- Excellent transport links to the rest of Europe and beyond, with four international airports offering development potential with runway and non runway access
- Scotland’s ideal position spans a number of time zones, covering peak working times during the entire day in Europe, evenings in Asia and the Far East, and mornings in North America
Key strengths in Scotland’s MRO include:
- Civil aircraft MRO
- Aero engines, line replacement units and engine components
- Systems and missiles
- Airframe and aerostructures
- Radar and defence systems
- Navigation systems
- Engine components
- Military aircraft MRO for rotorcraft and fixed wing
- General MRO activities
Growth and innovation are promoted and encouraged in Scotland: public/private partnerships, financial assistance and cross-sector collaborations are all available.
Over 24 million passengers passed through Scotland’s airports in 2008. Scottish airports provide world-class facilities for the aerospace industry. These facilities include Glasgow Prestwick: an MRO centre of excellence.
Scotland’s central belt has 3 major airports in a 50 mile radius. Each of Scotland's major international airports has the capacity to accommodate MRO - unlike many of their competitors.
Edinburgh is Scotland’s busiest airport, and Glasgow is not far behind. Further north, because of the offshore oil industry, Aberdeen is the world’s busiest heliport.
Scotland’s MRO capabilities and advantages are recognised globally - several of the top 12 global aerospace and defence companies have facilities in Scotland.
Increasing congestion at main UK and European airports coupled with increased traffic at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, are creating MRO opportunities for regional airports. These problems have also created opportunities for support services that do not have to be located at a main passenger hub.
The aircraft industry is facing a skills shortage in the UK and in the USA. Scotland has a tradition for engineering excellence and is known for higher retention rates that the rest of the UK.
R&D in Scotland
Scotland has 90 research and development (R&D) departments involved in aerospace and defence-related activity.