Significant US Investment in Northern Ireland for Advanced Aircraft Seating

Significant US Investment in Northern Ireland for Advanced Aircraft Seating

A leading American aerospace company has made a substantial investment of over £16 million in its Co Down facility, specifically for the advancement of aircraft seating suitable for wide-body and twin-aisle airplanes. This initiative, undertaken by Collins Aerospace, a division of RTX, was formally announced by Joe Kennedy III, the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs.

Kennedy highlighted the company’s longstanding contribution to Northern Ireland’s aerospace sector during his visit to Collins Aerospace’s Kilkeel premises. This was part of a larger tour by a senior US business delegation to the region last year. The visit underscored the global influence of RTX and Collins Aerospace in the aviation seating market over the past five decades.

A Leap in Innovation and Employment

This investment is a game-changer for the Kilkeel facility, a hub for Collins Aerospace that employs over 800 staff members specializing in aircraft interiors. Gary Baird, the Managing Director of Operations at the Kilkeel site, emphasized the ambitious goal of this investment. It aims to develop an innovative, complex aircraft seat that surpasses current market offerings in terms of quality and efficiency. The Kilkeel team, known for their excellence in research and development (R&D) and innovation, is primed to take on this challenging project.

Kennedy expressed his optimism about Northern Ireland’s potential, citing enthusiasm among leading US executives to explore opportunities in the region. This sentiment is a testament to the burgeoning interest and confidence in Northern Ireland’s advanced engineering capabilities.

Support and Confidence in Northern Ireland’s Future

The project has garnered support from Invest Northern Ireland, the region’s business support agency. Mel Chittock, the interim chief executive of Invest NI, spoke about the confidence that Collins Aerospace has in its Kilkeel team and in the wider engineering prowess of Northern Ireland. He highlighted the ongoing support provided by Invest NI in various areas, including skill development, R&D, and the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques.

Northern Ireland plays a significant role in the global aerospace industry, currently producing 30% of the world’s demand for aircraft seats. This new investment by Collins Aerospace not only signifies a major step in the region’s aerospace development but also strengthens its position as a leader in the global market for aircraft seating solutions.

This initiative is set to further Collins Aerospace’s growth and export ambitions, showcasing the potential of Northern Ireland as a key player in the aerospace sector. It marks a significant milestone in the region’s journey towards becoming a hub of innovation and excellence in aerospace technology and manufacturing.