First Minister opens new £28million aerospace centre in Prestwick

A new £28million research and development centre in Prestwick for the manufacture of lighter aircraft components has been officially opened by the First Minister.

© Credits: Alan Smith Nicola Sturgeon at Prestwick aerospace centre

Spirit AeroSystems’ facility will examine new, more efficient approaches to the design and manufacture of aircraft parts such as wings, using lightweight composite material technology to reduce flight emissions and lower costs.

© Alan Smith

The centre will also be available to research similar innovations in motoring and renewable energy

The firm describes itself as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of parts for both commercial airplanes and military, as well as business jets.

The AIC will also be open to companies in other sectors undertaking similar research into composite solutions, such as those in the automotive or renewable energy sectors.

Scottish Enterprise provided a £4.8 million research and development infrastructure grant to the project.

The First Minister told West FM News: “This is pioneering and it’s so important in terms of Scotland’s manufacturing capability, but also in terms of our journey to net zero and the need to tackle the climate emergency.

FM says Prestwick site is going “from strength to strength”

“The site at Prestwick here is going from strength to strength. I’ve visited this site in the years I’ve been First Minister four times and I think on each occasion it’s been to mark some innovation and some addition to this site.

“It’s one of the most pioneering, innovative companies we have located here I Scotland. It’s providing opportunities for young people to develop skills of the future, to use these skills to get high paid jobs. It’s an important part of the aerospace cluster here in Prestwick.

“Obviously aviation has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. It needs continued support as we come out of the pandemic, but developments like this, I think, point the way to a much brighter future.”

Ms Sturgeon was given a tour of the facility and spoke to staff before unveiling a plaque to mark the opening.

She opened a new £22 million Spirit AeroSystems factory at the airport last year.

More than 100 jobs expected to be created

Expected to create more than 100 jobs, it makes components for spoilers on the wings of the Airbus A320 aircraft using a new, lightweight composite material technology on a commercial aircraft for the first time in the UK.

Scott McLarty, senior vice-president and general manager – Airbus at Spirit AeroSystems, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the official opening of our Aerospace Innovation Centre in Prestwick, Scotland.

“In addition to advancing local skills and rapid knowledge transfer between academia and industry, it will facilitate the development of world-class technology solutions for diverse design and manufacturing applications.”

Hear all the latest news from across Ayrshire on the hour, every hour, at West FM. Listen on FM, via our West FM app, on your DAB radio, online at, or say ‘Play WEST FM’ on your Smart Speaker.

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