UK firms ‘excluded’ coming from space contracts by Brexit

Soyuz rocket carrying Galileo GPS SatellitesImage copyright
European Space Agency

UK aerospace firms have said they are being excluded coming from bidding for space contracts because of the Brexit vote.

Contracts for the European navigation satellite system, Galileo, were being particularly affected, Simon Henley of the Royal Aeronautical Society said.

Aircraft maker Airbus warned that will various other countries were “knocking at the door” to take business coming from the UK amid the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Both comments were made to MPs on the Business Committee .

The head of the ADS aerospace trade body also warned MPs that will if the UK was to leave the EU without a deal, the item could be “chaotic” for the industry.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: “No deal could be the worst possible outcome, coming from an industry point of view. We believe that will could be chaotic, along with unhelpful because of that will particular sector, along with several others.”

Mr Henley said UK companies had reported they were being excluded coming from bidding for contracts.

“Although membership of the European Space Agency is usually not part of the EU discussions because the item is usually not an EU body, many of the contracts, including Galileo, are EU funded.

“along with the item’s a requirement that will the companies that will participate along with get funding for their contracts are part of an EU country, so we are already seeing contracts being turned away coming from UK industry,” he said.

Katherine Bennett, senior vice president of Airbus UK, which builds wings at Broughton in North Wales warned that will the impact of Brexit meant future investment could go outside the UK.

“various other countries could dearly love to design along with build [Airbus] wings along with some already do – we actually build wings in China, along with believe you me they are knocking at the door as a result of the situation we find ourselves in in that will country,” she said.


Analysis by Business Correspondent Theo Leggett

People within the aerospace industry are clearly getting nervous – largely due to uncertainty around the form Brexit will take, along with the nature of any transitional arrangements.

from the current febrile political environment, the item’s hard to see Paul Everitt’s call for Britain to remain from the EU during a transitional period gaining much traction. nevertheless as he explained to MPs, he was laying down a marker.

His point was that will aviation along with aerospace relies on a complicated network of bilateral deals with third countries, not to mention a predictable regulatory along with certification regime.

Currently aerospace businesses don’t know what will happen when we leave the EU – along which has a no deal scenario, he suggested, could be pretty disastrous.

that will wasn’t the only warning, of course – Simon Henley raised eyebrows with his suggestion that will uncertainty was already costing UK space businesses the chance to bid for potentially lucrative contracts.

along with while Airbus UK’s Katharine Bennett was quite measured – the company was big enough, she suggested, to absorb higher costs – she too fired a telling shot.

Her allusion to various other countries “knocking on the door” to build the wings currently made in Broughton was gently made, nevertheless the item carried a firm message.

Airbus wants to carry on manufacturing from the UK – nevertheless future investment could easily go elsewhere.

The overall message was clear – the industry needs certainty, along with wants as little actual change as politically possible when we finally leave the EU


‘Holding pattern’

The space industry is usually worth about £14bn to the UK, with about 40,000 direct employees, according to the Aerospace, Defence, Security & Space (ADS) industry group.

ADS chief Mr Everitt told MPs there had been particularly fast growth from the sector thanks to growth from the market for satellites, which was due to projects such as Galileo.

from the wider aerospace industry, Mr Everitt said Brexit uncertainty was having an effect on investment.

“We are not faced with huge fresh investment decisions. We’ve seen some Great along with positive decisions for the UK, nevertheless they were taken prior to the referendum.

“At the moment, along with excuse the pun, everyone’s in a bit of a holding pattern, because they are trying to sweat their assets for as long as possible before they commit to fresh investment.”

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