Business Minister Michael Fallon opens new aerospace HQ at Cranfield

Apr 29, 2014

He performed the official opening of the Aerospace Technology Institute at Cranfield and said the ground-breaking initiative was a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy to keep the UK at the forefront of the world’s aerospace sector.

The new ATI will oversee the UK’s technology strategy for the next generation of quieter, more energy-efficient aircraft. Mr Fallon said: “The UK has the number one aerospace industry in Europe. I want to make sure we keep it that way.”

The ATI will help to ensure maximum return from £2 billion joint government and industry investment through the Industrial Strategy by providing a single, national focus for technology research and facilities in the sector.

It has also named Gary Elliott as its new chief executive. Mr Elliott is the former chief executive of modern airship developer Hybrid Air Vehicles based at Cardington near Bedford.

Mr Fallon (pictured) said: “This headquarters at Cranfield is one of many new projects supported by Aerospace Technology Institute funding. By supporting partnerships between companies and universities across the UK, we are building the high-grade skills and technologies that will drive sustained growth.”

The minister also visited the Aircraft Research Association in Bedford, which will receive £2 million of ATI funding to improve its wind tunnel research and testing activity.

The tunnels are to be used by aerospace manufacturers in early-stage development of the new generation of aircraft and helicopters.

The UK’s aerospace sector contributes £24 billion a year to the economy every year, supports 3,000 companies and employs 230,000 workers across the UK. Exports account for 75 per cent of its value.

Mr Fallon said: “The government’s Industrial Strategy will give the industry the long-term certainty it needs to stay competitive and create jobs, and will ensure the UK remains one of the world’s most attractive locations for aerospace manufacturing.” 

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