- in Technology
A new £22m factory for manufacturing aircraft parts has been officially opened in Ayrshire by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The Spirit AeroSystems facility in Prestwick will make components for spoilers on Airbus A320 wings.
It will be using new, lightweight composite material technology on a commercial aircraft for the first time in the UK.
The factory is expected to create more than 100 jobs.
Ms Sturgeon said Spirit AeroSystems exemplified how investment in research and development “drives innovation and creates high-quality jobs”.
She added: “Today’s opening provides Prestwick with a world-class composite manufacturing facility and increases Spirit’s ability to secure additional work on the next generation of greener aircraft.”
The automation technology being used to produce the aeroplane parts has been taken into full production by Spirit AeroSystems, helped by £2.1m of funding from Scottish Enterprise.
David Leven, head of high-value manufacturing at Scottish Enterprise, said a “healthy and innovative manufacturing sector” was critical for the success of Scotland’s economy.
He added: “We know investment in R&D (research and development) can unlock new products and markets for manufacturers, which leads to the creation of quality jobs in communities like Ayrshire and further across Scotland.”
A further grant of £4.8m has been awarded by Scottish Enterprise for the company’s new £28m Aerospace Innovation Centre, which is due to open at the Prestwick site later this year.
The centre will focus on the technology and expertise required to help Airbus develop wings that are “faster, easier and cheaper to make and assemble”.
Scottish government figures indicate the aerospace sector in Scotland had a turnover of £2.3bn in 2017 and 5,250 employees, with Prestwick and the surrounding area home to 50% of the country’s aerospace industry.