Brexit sending UK space firms out of orbit, MPs warned

The European Galileo satellite navigation system has gone live after years of delays

UK corporations are already beginning to lose out on European house contracts because of Brexit, MPs have heard.

Simon Henley, president-elect of the Royal Aeronautical Society – which represents professionals within the trade – mentioned companies had been lacking out on bids on the Galileo satellite tv for pc programme as a result of it’s funded by the European Union.

Individually, the UK head of aviation large Airbus – which builds wings for its aeroplanes in north Wales – advised the Commons Enterprise, Vitality and Industrial Technique (BEIS) committee that different international locations had been now “knocking on the door” for that enterprise.

MPs had been taking proof as a part of an inquiry into the affect of Brexit on aerospace.

Mr Henley advised the listening to that the UK had beforehand been “very profitable” in supplying the €10bn (£9bn) Galileo system managed by the European Area Company.

A European Space Agency technician works on the Giove B satellite, which forms part of the Galileo network
A European Area Company technician works on a Galileo satellite tv for pc

He mentioned: “We have now had corporations now reporting to us that they’re being excluded from bidding for contracts on Galileo.

“Though membership of the European Area Company just isn’t a part of the EU discussions as a result of it is not an EU physique, most of the contracts together with Galileo are EU-funded and it is a requirement that the businesses that take part and get funding and bid for contracts are a part of an EU nation.

“We’re already seeing contracts being turned away from UK trade due to the uncertainty.”

ADS, the commerce organisation for the aerospace, defence, safety and house sectors, has beforehand estimated that the house trade is value £14bn a 12 months to the UK, using 40,000 individuals.

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In its proof submitted to the committee final week, ADS known as for the UK to keep away from a “no deal” Brexit situation and to stay an EU member state throughout any transition – the latter not at the moment on the playing cards.

ADS is looking for “full and unfettered entry to EU analysis and innovation programmes submit 2020”, together with house programmes equivalent to Galileo.

Ariane Flight VA233 carrying four European Galileo navigation satellites launches November 15, 2016 in Kourou, French Guiana
A launch carrying 4 European Galileo navigation satellites

It mentioned: “A scarcity of UK participation in each present and future EU-funded programmes would affect the worldwide competitiveness of our sectors.”

The organisation mentioned this “would take away the chance for a variety of provide chain UK companies to be concerned in ground-breaking cross-border innovation not attainable at a nationwide degree”.

In the meantime, Katherine Bennett, UK boss of Airbus, advised MPs on Tuesday that the corporate’s facility in Broughton, north Wales, using 7,000 individuals was an “wonderful facility” and mentioned it was “not terribly simple to maneuver an enormous manufacturing website”.

She mentioned she was “preventing to make sure that the wing design – what we name the crown jewels of aerospace – stays on this nation”.

“Different international locations would dearly like to design and construct wings and a few of them already do. We already construct wings in China,” she advised the committee.

“Consider you me, they’re knocking on the door because of this example that we’re in on this nation.”

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