A new research and development centre for the manufacture of lighter aircraft components has been officially opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP in Prestwick today.
Spirit AeroSystems’ Aerospace Innovation Centre (AIC) will explore new, more efficient approaches to the design and manufacture of aerostructures such as wings, using lightweight composite material technology to reduce flight emissions and lower costs.
The 90,000 square foot facility combines the technology and expertise required by Spirit and its partners creating the capability for future composite aerostructures manufacturing and the expansion of supply chain opportunities in Scotland.
The centre will also be open to companies in other sectors undertaking similar research into composite solutions, such as those in the automotive or renewable energy sectors.
The £28 million facility was supported with a £4.8m research and development infrastructure grant from Scottish Enterprise.
The First Minister said:
“This investment from Spirit AeroSystems, at a time of considerable challenge for the aerospace sector globally, is an endorsement of Scotland’s engineering and manufacturing capability and it will complement existing facilities, such as the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS).
“As well as improving the efficiency of aircraft parts, and the way they are manufactured, this facility has the potential to enable growth for industry-leading aerospace innovations and create more high-value manufacturing jobs over the next decade.
“We are focused on building a stronger, sustainable and inclusive economy, with new, high quality, green jobs, and Scotland’s aerospace sector with the highly-skilled workforce it employs is an integral part of that.”
Scott McLarty, Senior Vice-President and General Manager – Airbus at Spirit AeroSystems said:
“We are delighted to celebrate the official opening of our Aerospace Innovation Centre in Prestwick, Scotland. In addition to advancing local skills and rapid knowledge transfer between academia and industry, it will facilitate the development of world-class technology solutions for diverse design and manufacturing applications. Our latest investment in collaborative innovation, supported by Scottish Enterprise, reinforces our commitment to strengthen Aerospace in Scotland, enabling us to compete more competitively and sustainably on national and global scales.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The opening of this centre and the investment made by Spirit Aerosystems should give us all confidence that others see what Ayrshire and Scotland’s aerospace industry have to offer.
“Between this and investment through the Ayrshire Growth Deal, jobs are now being created that are sustainable, high-skilled as well as more mainstream and of course, the growth in aerospace innovation and manufacturing will have a ripple effect on supply chains across Ayrshire. Good news all round.”