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Airbus President on how to continue the UK’s aerospace success story

Peter Stojanovic

An important sector for its economy, the UK's aerospace industry now requires certain measures to continue scaling, despite slowing growth in the manufacturing industry as a whole

When a particular domestic market is doing well, it’s easy to assume its own success will drive momentum for other sectors.

Take the UK aerospace industry success story, that’s seen the country as a world leader in producing aircraft globally, as an example. That was helped by a supportive and productive manufacturing industry – until recently.

Recent global market wobbles has meant growth forecasts for the entire industry have had to be slashed.

With that in mind, how can a country, such as the UK in this case, keep up the momentum of its successful sectors in challenging climates? Or, more specifically, what should leaders set out to achieve in order guarantee positive results from slimmer pickings?

For Paul Kahn, President of Airbus, UK aerospace industry success can be maintained through partnership.

“It’s fundamentally about partnership with the supply chain, having government support and being in an attractive competitive environment to do business…”

Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, and as useful as it is to have the backing of a government, there is no escaping the necessity of emerging talent.

“…you also need to be getting the right investment and skills, such as apprenticeships, and university students….”

Kahn also intimated that the UK aerospace industry success story was down to its long term visions.

“We work with the Aerospace Growth Partnership and the Government thinking about the long term decisions, for example it takes around 10 to 15 years to develop an completely new aircraft – that requires consistency, partnership and relationships right across the industry.”

Hot Topics sat down with the President of Airbus Paul Kahn at the UKTI GREAT Global Investment Conference. The event showcased the best of British business and innovation and included presentations from British Prime Minister, David Cameron, his Chancellor George Osborne and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.