This month has seen a visit to the Airbus & GKN aircraft factories in Bristol, also Caterpillar heavy industry engine plant (ex Rolls Royce) in Shrewsbury. The airbus event was organised by the Welsh government to help new Tier 2 and 3 level companies engage with their supply chains. We received presentations from the senior management regarding the future of aerospace industry in their eyes. Essentially it took Airbus 26 years to deliver 4000 aircraft and now they plan during the next 7 years to deliver another 7000 units. Mainly A320 family with A330-340 then A380. The total passenger aircraft market is valued at over USD 4.4 trillion over the next 20 years with a constant but increasing demand of at least 5000 passenger jet aircraft per year.
Currently there are 42 Aviation Mega Cities each capable of handling more than 10,000 people per day, which is 93% of the global traffic equivalent to 0.8 million daily passengers. In 2032 it is predicted there will be 89 Aviation Mega cities with 2.2 million passengers per day accounting for 99% of total global traffic. The GKN advanced composite wing manufacturing facility was very impressive gearing up ready for increased production volumes of the A400M heavy lift military aircraft and A350.
The Caterpillar Engine factory conference included Philip Dunne MP & Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology and Daniel Kawczynski MP for Shrewsbury. He gave a presentation detailing the intended GBP 180 billion spend planned during the next 10 years on new and replacement equipment. The Shrewsbury factory is manufacturing and refurbishing large engines for military vehicles, tanks and other associated heavy ground land vehicles. It is possible for original engine designs from Rolls Royce to be refurbished sometimes more than three times to an as new condition. They have many testing facilities including dynamometers and loading rigs including side loading testing rigs.