Image Source: Jason O'Halloran
Chloe Shakesby

Aviation industry set to soar as plans unveiled for London innovation district

Blueprints for a new innovation district in London have been revealed today as part of plans to support the aviation industry in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The new ‘Silicon Valley of Aviation’ is being unveiled today at the Blue Skies Conference, co-ordinated by West London Business, and is expected to drive growth and create jobs in the sector.

The district will be close to Heathrow airport, with its hub at the Central Research Laboratory 1 accelerator in Hayes.

It was first proposed by West London borough councils in response to the impact of coronavirus on the area, and has been taken forward by the Blue Skies conference steering network, co-chaired by Feltham and Heston MP Seema Malhotra and Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Business.

Seema Malhotra commented: “Rebuilding our West London economy requires new thinking and new ambition.

“We know thousands of people and future generations depend on the choices we make today about how we plan for future growth.

“We are seeking new partnerships between local and national government, industry, investors and education to drive innovation.

“With the scale of the challenge ahead, it’s crucial that we push the boundaries of ambition for how we create and sustain the jobs of the future for the children of today.”

Andrew Dakers, chief executive of West London Business, said: “Two strategic drivers will shape the future of transport and the economy surrounding Heathrow – green growth and the impact of digital and virtual technologies as we look to realise our path to decarbonisation and becoming a green economy powerhouse.

“The innovation district will enable us to focus on both areas, supporting businesses across the sub-region in the process.”

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, added: “Covid-19 has significantly challenged Heathrow, the aviation sector and the local communities our industry supports.

“As the largest gateway to Britain, Heathrow will be an enabler of UK economic growth post-Covid, providing critical support to both the national and local recovery.

“However, the success of our recovery is dependent on us working together, therefore I welcome the creation of the West London innovation district as a great initiative for valuable collaboration, which will look to solve our collective challenges and help to ensure that as we build back, we build back better.”

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