Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD highlighted the growth potential in the aerospace and aviation industries in the Mid West during a recent visit to the University of Limerick.
Speaking to aerospace and aviation industry and academics at the university, Minister Breen said: “The aviation and aerospace sector has the potential to play a significant role in the future enterprise growth in the Mid West. There is great opportunity for Ireland to increase its market share in these growing sectors in particular aerospace sub-component manufacturing. The business, research and educational strengths in existence in the Mid-West in addition to the strategic asset of Shannon Airport provide the right conditions for Ireland to seize this opportunity”.
The Mid West region is home to more than 40 aerospace and aviation companies, employing some 1,600 people in and around Shannon. Companies include GE Capital, Aercap, Lufthansa Technik Shannon, Engine Lease Finance Corporation, Atlantic Aviation Group, Eirtech Aviation, CAE Parc Aviation, Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Acclino and Magellan Aviation Services. Several of these companies are also involved in aviation education and training.
UL launched the first aviation programme in Ireland in 1992, and now offers seven courses including a BE/ME Aeronautical Engineering, a Corporate MBA with Aviation Management, a BSc in Aircraft Maintenance and Airworthiness Engineering, and two Specialist Diplomas in Aircraft Leasing and Continued Airworthiness.
In the past seven years, UL has developed partnerships with several mid-west aviation education and training partners in the Mid-West, and annual intake of aviation students has quadrupled to over 100. UL is also home to the Irish Composites Centre (ICOMP), an Enterprise Ireland/IDA Technology Centre, providing innovative solutions to enable acceleration of economic growth within the indigenous composites industry.
Prof Michael McCarthy, Chair in Aeronautical Engineering at UL said: “Over the last 25 years, the University of Limerick has developed research partnerships with more than 100 aerospace companies, including Airbus, Bombardier and SAAB. Meanwhile, our global network of in excess of over 600 aerospace and aviation graduates occupy senior positions in most of the world’s major aerospace and aviation companies. The Mid West region has the key elements to create a world-leading aerospace and aviation cluster, including a pipeline of talent, research infrastructure, innovative small and medium enterprises, multinational corporations, and a network of aviation education and training providers”.