UK Aerospace: the impact of Brexit

The UK aerospace industry is the second largest aerospace industry in the world, and is one of the traditional economic backbones of the UK economy. As a multibillion-pound industry, its influence has a global impact.

With the UK currently negotiating  amendments to the agreement in principle (dated November 2018), including a contingency plan for a ‘no deal’ scenario, there are industry-wide concerns about the effect it will have on the UK aerospace sector, particularly the UK’s ability to maintain its global position.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers recommends:

1. The UK Government negotiates a Brexit deal that maintains the strategic partnership with the EU and the status quo. This will ensure that the UK continues to utilise the supply 
chain footprint and to have access to the skilled workforce. This in turn, will guarantee that the UK maintains the steady influx of investments in capital, skilled labour and EU students who study and undertake research to improve upon the UK’s scientific knowledge. Access to current markets would also be guaranteed through continued membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Due to the niche nature of the industry, there are negligible benefits in pursuing individual regulations and trade agreements with other  countries at the expense of compromising our global position. 

2. The UK Government invests in RDI projects that focus on improving battery technology
and the electrification of aircraft propulsion, due to the significant upscale and potential of these areas to make the UK a world leader. 

3. The UK Government increases the availability of funds, in the form of grants for UK SMEs to invest in digital and automated manufacturing machinery and training, in order to improve output and quality. This will significantly increase the productivity and, in turn, the competitiveness of the UK manufacturing workforce.

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