Boeing opts for Sheffield for first Europe factory

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held in Sheffield at the start of construction of Boeing's first manufacturing plant in Europe which will make components that operate wing flaps on aircraft.

Boeing opts for Sheffield for first Europe factory
Boeing have begun construction of their first manufacturing plant in Europe, choosing Sheffield as the location.The £20 million plant, which is due to open at the end of next year, will make components for the actuation systems – which operate wing flaps to provide extra lift during take-off and landing – for Boeing 737 and 777 aircraft, in partnership with a plant in Portland, Oregon.

Sheffield University and Boeing: 16 years of cooperation

Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe, said, “Boeing Sheffield is further evidence of Boeing's long-term commitment to the prosperity of this country.”Built alongside the University of Sheffield's Factory 2050, which is part of the university's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the plant builds on 16 years of research cooperation between the Seattle-based plane-maker and the university.Kim Smith, vice-president of Boeing Fabrication, said at the ground-breaking ceremony that the relationship between the company and the AMRC was a key factor in the decision to locate the plant at the Sheffield Business Park, which is on the site of the old Sheffield City Airport.“That was definitively significant,” she said. “When you looked at University of Sheffield, the AMRC, the research capability, and all that brings to bear, as well as just the great talent pool here – the history of Sheffield, the roots, the culture and their love and affection for this type of manufacturing capability.“I run an organisation that has global sites and we do have choices about where we can invest and create partnerships. We are very confident that we're making good decisions here with our investment and that is mutually beneficially for the future.“This is a huge day for us. There's lots of excitement around Boeing about this tremendous opportunity. This is a big deal.”

Engineering apprentices recruited locally

Ms Smith added a key feature of the investment was the recruitment of a team of engineering apprentices, all of whom have been recruited locally.Nigel Brewster, vice-chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said, “Boeing's investment is obviously deeply significant, not only for our city region's economy but for the north and indeed for the whole of the UK. The opportunities for jobs, training and innovation that this offers cannot be overstated.”Julie Dore, Sheffield City Council leader, claimed that Boeing's investment showed that “not only can we compete with the south but we can compete on a scale with some other major cities and agglomerations across Europe and the rest of the world”.She added, “Knowing and seeing that the brand Boeing has chosen Sheffield to invest in is a catalyst for other decision-makers around the world to say, if it's good enough for Boeing it's good enough for anyone.”For related news and features, visit our Enterprise section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre