Saturday, 25 February 2006
Duke of York sees global potential
for Ayrshire aerospace companies
HIS Royal Highness the Duke of York flew into Scotland yesterday for an official visit to some of Ayrshire’s key aerospace companies.
As the UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, the Duke met with Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire chief executive Evelyn McCann and key representatives from industry.
The visit to Ayrshire included tours of Goodrich and GE Caledonian, both of whom have well established global reputations.
The Duke of York said that penetrating international markets required clear strategies that built upon Scotland’s strengths in the high-tech arena: “It is clear that Scottish aerospace companies have individually identified a number of routes to strengthen their foothold in the international market. Not only must they trade on their strengths, but also I believe that it is essential that companies work together specifically to develop the critical mass to bring about the best benefit to the Scottish economy and the UK aerospace sector in general.”
Scottish Enterprise highlighted the potential for Scottish companies to rise to the challenge and compete at international level, by combining the efforts of individual companies and the public sector. While Ayrshire has a strong regional reputation in aerospace, Evelyn McCann underlined the need for closer working links across Scotland in order to develop better scale and become even more competitive at international level.
Scottish Enterprise’s aims to bring closer collaboration in the industry has been boosted by the creation of industry body SBAC (the Society of British Aerospace Companies) Scotland. The council, based in Ayrshire, is likely to act as a co-ordinator of best practice and will forge strong working links with industry, essential to the development of a successful Scotland-wide aerospace proposition.
Goodrich Corporation came to Prestwick in 1996 and now employs over 220 people, enjoying significant growth. They are the first tenant of the new Prestwick International Aerospace Park, investing £9m in the new building with an option to expand. Goodrich maintain and repair nacelles and thrust reversers for Europe, Africa and the Middle East from their base at Prestwick.
Goodrich managing director Steve Callan said: “I was very pleased to welcome His Royal Highness to the Goodrich facility and the new Prestwick International Aerospace Park. Goodrich’s growth has proven that Prestwick offers a strong available workforce that can provide a base for international competitiveness. The Duke of York shared our enthusiasm for the area, and it was a pleasure to host his visit to our premises, which also included meetings with other aerospace and related companies in the area.”
GE Caledonian managing director David Crews said: "It was a privilege to welcome His Royal Highness to GE Caledonian and share with him the achievements of the business. This success is reflective of the continued support, energy and innovation from our employees."
GE Caledonian is part of the GE (General Electric) Group, employing more than 900 highly skilled workers in Ayrshire. Established in 1980, the site celebrated 25 years in operation in 2005 and was awarded the 'Best Performing Business Award (over 250 employees)' in both the local and national Scottish Enterprise awards in 2005.