Farnborough Airshow – The Return

Northern Ireland Aerospace & Defence brochure on display at Farnborough

Northern Ireland’s Aerospace and Defence sector supported by Invest NI, showcased its world-leading expertise to an international audience at the Farnborough Air Show from 18 – 22 July.

The Northern Ireland Aerospace and Defence sector is a > $1.8bn industry. Today, every major commercial aircraft programme depends on structures, components and expert services from Northern Ireland.

We were delighted to be back at Farnborough Air Show, the first physical show since 2018, with 12 of the region’s world-leading aerospace companies exhibiting and participating in many 1:1 meetings and networking with international customers and buyers to secure new trade deals.  See who attended Farnborough with Invest NI.

The exhibitors and attendees were undeterred by the extreme weather conditions which led to transport delays and very uncomfortable working conditions within the show.


On Wednesday morning a speed dating event with a difference was set up by the Invest NI team.  It saw 5 Northern Ireland company representatives pitch their aerospace capabilities to a delegation from the Washington State Dept of Commerce helping to build on the relationship already forged with the organisation.

Invest NI UK Defence Playbook

Whilst at the show Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth, Invest NI, launched the new Invest NI Defence playbook, supporting Northern Ireland Aerospace companies to enter the UK Defence market.

Northern Ireland companies recognised for excellence at Farnborough

With less than 3 percent of the population of the UK, Northern Ireland is home to almost one-third of the UK’s SC21 Aerospace & Defence Supply Chain Excellence Awards winners.

Not only did companies such as Moyola Precision Engineering,  Denroy, and IPC Mouldings Ltd retain coveted SC21 Gold Standard status throughout the pandemic, Northern Ireland actually saw an increase in the number of companies attaining this standard during the pandemic - proof of quality and dependability. RTA Ireland and Technical Metals have now joined the roll call of the industry Gold standard elite. 

Other Northern Ireland companies recognised at Farnborough:

Silver Award winners

Bronze Award winners

Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth, Invest NI with our 5 Gold winning companies

Pictured (L to R) are Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth, Invest NI; Dominic Hannon, RTA Ireland; Joanne Liddle, IPC Mouldings; Jennifer Doherty, Moyola Precision; Kieron Kent, Technical Metals and John Irwin, Denroy.

“It is an amazing fact that NI companies hold almost one-third of all the national SC21 Aerospace & Defence Supply Chain Excellence Awards and over 50% of the gold awards.  Industry Primes seek a trusted supply chain, and they have found that in Northern Ireland. The technical expertise and quality is here and we want to grow the industry further,” said Dr. Leslie Orr, ADS NI Director.  ADS NI started with a membership of seven companies in 2010 and has grown to more than 100 today.

Supporting sustainability

Northern Ireland is recognised as a global leader in light-weighting technologies, from the Resin Transfer Infusion composites developed by Short Bros and deployed on the A220 wing programme, through to our supply chain expertise in hard metals, composites, polymers and thermos-plastics, Northern Ireland is working together to deliver sustainable aviation and meet Net Zero targets.

To support the drive to Net Zero targets across the UK, the “Destination Zero” strategy was launched at the Farnborough Air Show.

“Destination Net Zero”, launched this week by the Aerospace Growth Partnership drives impetus on reducing the climate impact of aviation whilst contributing to the economic prosperity and global aerospace leadership of the UK.  Its focus on the role of technology and sustainable aviation fuels to achieve net zero ambitions sits well with the diversified and highly capable Northern Ireland supply chain cluster.  It is vitally important that Northern Ireland can take a leadership role and play its full part in delivering against those ambitions.

Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Growth, Invest NI

Project SCENIC: £9m project for local aerospace sector

Our Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has also announced a major £9m collaborative Research and Development project for the local aerospace sector. Project SCENIC’ is a collaboration between The Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) and a consortium of Northern Ireland aerospace sector companies; RLC UK, Moyola Precision Engineering, JW Kane Aerospace UK and Travan Precision Engineering.

Due to complete by 2023, Project SCENIC will address the gap in titanium and hard metal machining by increasing Northern Ireland’s capabilities to ensure lightweight technologies meet the increasing use of composite materials in the aerospace sector.

New Funding for ‘Factories of the Future’

Over the next few years, Northern Ireland will benefit from a package of investment from four City & Growth Deals, with combined funding of £1.3bn, which will be complemented by private sector and other sources of funding.

These significant deals will help create global centres of innovation excellence in key growth sectors, with aerospace playing a major part.  They will provide opportunities for businesses, located both in and outside Northern Ireland, to collaborate and tap into the world-leading expertise of Northern Ireland’s universities to create breakthrough technologies, products and services.  Additionally, they will develop the infrastructure and test environments that will allow the next generation of products to be tested and trialled.

A £98m Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) project, in partnership with Queen’s University of Belfast and Ulster University and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, will provide fresh capabilities for the NI Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE) and create a 10,500m2 state-of-the-art facility at Global Point in Newtownabbey, giving advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses access to the very latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise.

The ‘Factory of the Future’ will be AMIC’s flagship facility and will become Northern Ireland’s national centre for advanced manufacturing, significantly accelerating levels of innovation and collaboration between industry and researchers.