Leadership ‘optimism’ for recovery during visit to Collins Aerospace

Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA has outlined the important part Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel has to play in helping to drive forward the principles within ‘10X Economy’.

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 15th November 2021, 1:00 pm

During a visit to the firm, Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA and the managing director, Stuart McKee, also spoke about ‘optimism’ for the sector’s future recovery following the challanges posed by the outbreak of the pandemic.

Whilst there, the Economy Minister toured the site and was shown some of the seating that serves many of the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, said: “Northern Ireland’s aerospace industry is founded on a strong entrepreneurial heritage and over the years has grown to become a global leader in aerospace technology. The industry has long been one of the key drivers of our economy and is rich in knowledge, skills and experience.

Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA with Stuart McKee, managing director of Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, Gráinne McVeigh, director of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Invest Northern Ireland and Dr Leslie Orr ADS (NI)

“It was a pleasure to see first-hand those skills in action whilst visiting the team at Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel and the range of seating it manufactures to an excellent standard for many of the larger OEMs. Collins Aerospace has an important part to play in helping to drive forward the principles highlighted within ‘10X Economy’, my Department’s economic vision as we seek to recover, rebuild and rebound back stronger than ever.”

The global company is renowned for its innovative seating solutions for a range of commercial aircraft and business jets, as well as its state-of-the-art designs, quality of construction, lightweight comfort, functionality, and safety.

Recent announcements have seen the Meridian main class seating in Air France’s A220, which is the widest in the market and includes thoughtful amenities to improve customers’ flying experience with an advanced ergonomic design that builds on Meridian’s industry leading seat.

Collins Aerospace recently announced that it continues to retrofit British Airways (BA) Boeing 777 fleet with the newest business class seat, Club Suite, providing the very best of quality, style, and comfort for BA’s customers.

Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel is a major employer for the area and in addition to contributing greatly to the local economy they have embarked on a recruitment drive as they prepare for future growth, hoping to grow the company to pre-pandemic levels.

Stuart McKee, managing director of Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, explained: “Collins Aerospace has been situated on this site in Kilkeel since 1966. As such, we have become, an integral part of the community, which is extremely important to us. We are ranked among the largest and most successful companies in Northern Ireland and are one of the leading aircraft interior manufacturers globally.

“Our core business is the assembly of seating for commercial aircrafts – ranging from economy to business and first-class options. We also manufacture components for use in the assembly of seats. Having right sized the business during the pandemic, we are now ready for future growth. I’m optimistic about the future of aerospace and the part that we, here in Kilkeel, can play.

“We hope to grow the company again to pre-pandemic levels and we know that this will have a positive effect on the supply chain too. Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel not only offers real value to our customers, but to the economy, to Northern Ireland and to the wider local community in Kilkeel.”

Dr Leslie Orr, ADS(NI), added: “Given the recent ADS forecast on commercial passenger aircraft production rates it is great to see optimism return to the aerospace sector. The team in Kilkeel at Collins Aerospace and their achievements over the years only reinforces and highlights that Northern Ireland is a leading region in the United Kingdom for seating manufacturing. I applaud them on right sizing the business during the pandemic and that they are now ready for future growth.”

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