What's keeping aerospace industry leaders awake at night?

At the recent ADS CEO Briefing, three industry leaders discussed their most serious concerns and how they deal with them. The panellists were Scott McLarty, VP UK & Malaysia, Spirit AeroSystems; Colin Smith, Chairman of the Aerospace Growth Partnership & President, ADS; and Paul Everitt, CEO, ADS.

Quality

McLarty kicked off the discussion: “What worries me more than anything else is keeping control over the quality of the product, and making sure that we can keep our reputation where it's always been. There are plenty of people willing to take this work away… There have been some high-profile issues with Toyota and Volkswagen…something like that in our industry is what keeps me awake at night, and governance becomes really important in terms of our quality systems."

Policy

“The concern for me is always the same,” commented, Everitt. "The UK has always had a strong global position in the aerospace sector. What concerns me most is ensuring that whoever is currently in government does not forget that kind of global position did not happen by chance. It was the consequence of a long held and pretty actively pursued national policy. Ensuring that we continue to have that kind of support from whoever is in government is my number one concern."

Short-termism

Smith agreed with Everitt, saying: “I fret that most aerospace and defence projects are multi-year, multi-government. If you think that most pilots of the Joint Strike Fighter haven't yet been born, you begin to realise the time scales that we're talking about.

"Some really short-term 'Change this, change that, change the other'…is genuinely frightening.”

He concluded: “I think one of the things journalists need to do is try and explain how complex some of these systems that fly millions of people every hour around the world, are, and what a remarkable feat we've [achieved] to make them as safe as they are.”

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