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Jun 10, 2009

UK aerospace 'facing 10,000 job cuts'

The UK aerospace sector is set to cut 10% of jobs, about 10,000 posts, in the next year, an industry body has said.

The Society of British Aerospace Companies said falling passenger levels were hitting aircraft orders as well as spending on research and development.

Demand for military planes was up by about 3% on the same time a year ago, it said, but this was partly thanks to orders placed several years ago.

The sector is worth about £20bn a year and employs about 100,000 people.

But the society's general director, Ian Godden, told the BBC this headcount was likely to be reduced by 10% in 2009.

There are fewer orders for planes and so fewer people are required to make them," said the society's chief executive, Ian Godden.

The report was released on the day that BAA - which operate seven UK airports -reported passenger numbers had fallen by 7.3% in May from a year ago after the recession hit North Atlantic traffic and airlines cut capacity at Stansted.

Unclear future

The Society of British Aerospace Companies said that sales volumes had been flat in 2008, but there had been a slight rise in turnover.

Falls were experienced in employment, orders and R&D spending, but exports, productivity and skills levels rose, it said.

"The civil sector appears to be hit harder than the defence sector but the export market and order backlogs offer some cause for optimism," Mr Godden said.

"There has been a slowdown in the sector but compared to the rest of the economy, aerospace has held up well thus far.

"Our industry is in for a difficult period in the immediate future but the degree of that difficulty is yet to become clear."

Large employers in the sector include Airbus, BAE and Rolls-Royce.

Mr Godden told the BBC that Rolls-Royce was an "exceptional case" because it not only made aircraft engines, but also carried out repairs on its engines and so was relatively well-protected during tougher times.

Source : BBC
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