A new £10m aerospace centre in Somerset dedicated to innovation, collaboration and sustainable aviation has officially opened.
The iAero project, led by Somerset County Council, demonstrates the continuing commitment to the aerospace industry and underlines its importance to the economy of Somerset and the South West.
iAero is a hub for collaboration and innovation on new products. It stands next door to world-leading aerospace company Leonardo UK Ltd, a key partner in the project.
The centre – one of just a handful of aerospace innovation centres nationwide – will be the gateway for the aerospace industry to access small and medium enterprises who are looking to collaborate and innovate on new products at this dynamic and creative hub.
The opening, which was also attended by Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Emma Rawlings, marked the start of a new phase in the development, securing the right tenants, cementing its place in the aerospace industry and maximising its economic benefits. The ribbon was cut for the official opening by Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “iAero plays a key part in our innovation portfolio to support key Somerset industries and sectors. It will support aerospace; the Energy Innovation Centre at Bridgwater supports the nuclear and low carbon industries while the Digital Innovation Centre under construction in Taunton, will support the county’s fast-growing digital economy.
“iAero represents a significant investment in the future of Somerset’s aerospace industry, delivered with funding from the County Council, the European Union and UK Government.”
Karl Tucker, chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “The launch of iAero is extremely exciting and of huge significance to the region. The centre will contribute to local economic growth and the creation of high-value jobs as well as our clean growth ambitions.
“iAero will provide an important facility to support the South West’s well-established aerospace cluster, and its national and global competitiveness. The facilities at iAero will enable the development of innovative and sustainable solutions, putting the South West at the centre of cutting-edge emission reducing technologies.
“We are delighted to have been able to support the iAero Centre with funding from our Growth Deal and Getting Building Fund allocations and look forward to seeing the fantastic work which will surely take place here in the coming years.”
Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, said: “Yeovil has a long history in aerospace. The iAero centre marks the next frontier for the aerospace community in Somerset. The freedom to explore, experiment, and engineer at the centre will ensure the region remains at the cutting-edge of innovative flight technologies.”
The iAero Centre has been funded by Somerset County Council, Government’s Local Growth Fund as part of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal and the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme . Fit out of the Centre is being funded by Government’s Getting Building Fund with these monies secured by Somerset County Council via the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
For more information about the iAero Centre or to register your interest, please email iAeroCentreYeovil@somerset.gov.uk.
Photo on main page: from left, Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh, Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, and Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK.