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Just plane impressive
SOME of the world’s biggest and technologically advanced businesses are competing for trade at the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow – and firms from in and around Basingstoke are grabbing a piece of the action.
Meggitt Sensing Systems, based in Jays Close, on the Viables Industrial Estate, along with French aerospace and defence group Thales, which has a facility on Basing View, Basingstoke, both had a strong presence at the biennial event.
Vehicle design and engineering company, Crea-tion UK, based in Hook, also had one of its Zephyr military vehicles on display besides the Thales chalet.
Eighty-three trade and military delegations from more than 43 countries, including China, the United States, Australia and Libya, attended the 48th Farnborough International Airshow.
Organisers of the show, Farnborough Interna-tional Ltd (FIL), predict a significant number of new deals to be announced at the week-long event, underlining its status as one of the world’s most important aviation shows.
An estimated £30 billion worth of business deals were announced when the show last took place in 2010.
Over 120,000 trade visitors are expected to attend the five-day event where there are 1,506 exhibitors.
And this weekend, when the show is open to the public, a further 130,000 people are expected to visit the event.
On Monday, when Prime Minister David Cameron officially declared the show open, there was a flypast by the Red Arrows and the world’s last flying Avro Vulcan.
Mr Cameron was there to support the UK aeros-pace, defence, security and space industrial sectors. In all, 15 Government ministers are expected to attend the airshow this week.
Praising the phenomenal success of the UK aerospace industry, Mr Cameron said: “From this Government, you will see nothing less than an unstinting, unrelenting, unflagging commitment to making Britain the best place in the world for aerospace businesses to invest, design, manufac-ture and export."
He added that he saw it as a Government priority to work with industry to increase exports, and promised to visit every G20 country to push the mantra that the UK is open for business, and to help increase interest in UK exports.
While at the show he visited several manufac-turers, including AugustaWestland, which is an Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer based in Farnborough.
Alan Kaufman, vice-president (Aerospace) of global engineering group Meggitt, who for five years was based at the Basingstoke sensors division, was impressed with the first day.
Speaking at the company’s chalet at the show, he said: “We concentrate our attendance on the show here in the chalet rather than in an exhibition hall, because we believe that is the right way to app-roach most of our most important relationship clients.
“And here we’ve had CEOs from many of the world’s leading aerospace corporations visit us.”
“It’s been like the United Nations here today,” added Mr Kaufman. “Every European nationality you can think of has been here as well as Russians and Chinese.”
Mr Kaufman said events like the airshow play a part in helping to keep jobs in Basingstoke.
He explained that the local division makes sensors for sophisticated aircraft engines, that monitor the health of engines. These can control the engine and alert the crew if there is a problem.
Mr Kaufman said Meggitt recently won a multi-million-pound deal to supply a very large package of sensors, including temperature sensors and engine rotation speed sensors made in Basingstoke, for the next generation of Leap engines for the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
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