The Heart of the South West LEP joined the West of England Combined Authority at the 54th edition of the world renown Paris Airshow.
Collectively we were marketing the South West Aerospace cluster which is number one in the UK and globally in the top 3.
We were one of 2,500 exhibitors representing 64 countries with over 300,000 visitors making their way to Le Bourget to talk to the Traders. They could also see up-close 150 different aircraft which included a glimpse of the near future with prototypes of urban air mobility (flying taxi’s) electric aircraft, an assortment of drones and hydrogen engines attracting significant attention as the sector seeks to rapidly decarbonise. Some of these craft will be supporting logistics at the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Representing the region at the Show was Yvonne Elsorougi and Eric Sanders from Invest Bristol and Bath, Temitayo Adedipe a Leonardo Graduate Trainee getting her first taste of a major aerospace event and Corinne Matthews from the LEP. Between us we met over 200 individual companies, held 1:1 meetings and networked at a variety of international events. We made sure that we visited our own SW businesses who had stands at the show, with them being very pleased to see us, and recognising the value we added by being there.
We witnessed a growing interest in Somerset, thanks in most part to the iAero Innovation Centre, which many overseas contacts saw as an ideal base for UK activity, and opportunities for collaboration, both with a UK OEM in Leonardo, but also to engender partnerships with some of our very exciting start-ups.
There is much work still to be done in following up with all the contacts we made, and we would hope to see some of these developing into warm leads and projects over the next few months.