Commercial aerospace is a key sector in the Welsh economy, engaged in complex overlapping activities from aircraft manufacture (AM), through maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), to research, development and training (RDT). Defining and operationalizing a framework for analysis using both qualitative and quantitative data, this paper examines the actual and potential roles of the relationships in Wales between commercial aerospace firms, industry, government and institutional stakeholders, at both local and non-local levels. Concentrations of manufacturing in North Wales, and MRO in South Wales along with RDT operate as distinct constituent parts of aerospace clusters in neighbouring regions of England and beyond. The results, however, highlight links between the location of AM, MRO and RDT in Wales, emphasizing their (partially) geographically symbiotic relationships. Moreover, there are key inter-linkages that need consideration if the long-term health of Welsh aerospace is to be secured. Simultaneously, all three sub-sectors in Wales exhibit weaknesses which could render them vulnerable to greater external competition, particularly from developing countries. This emphasizes a need to alter the current governance arrangements and utilize different clustering characteristics that currently exist, with government, as a major sponsor of the industry, having a strong (but changing) role to play in encouraging these more balanced industry structures and decision-making processes.
- governement policy
- industrial concentration