At a recent gathering of influential business leaders and stakeholders in Doncaster, (Doncaster, What's Next?) Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) CEO, Tom Grundy, discussed the reasons behind the company's plans to establish its Airlander production facility in South Yorkshire. This decision highlights the region's potential as an investment hub and also signifies a significant leap forward for HAV's game-changing aviation technology. By deciding to produce Airlander in South Yorkshire, HAV demonstrates its commitment to sustainable growth, local talent development, and regional partnership. This article explores the reasons behind HAV's decision and the profound impact it will have on Doncaster, South Yorkshire, the company itself, and the whole of the UK.
South Yorkshire: The right people, right technology, right reasons
As Martha Lane Fox astutely noted in her keynote speech to the conference - to be successful you need; the right people, right technology and the right reasons. In selecting South Yorkshire as the home for Airlander’s production, HAV firmly believes it has found precisely these essential elements. The region boasts a long term plan for development, in which Airlander can serve as a flagship innovation that will redefine South Yorkshire's economic landscape. This strategic decision aligns with HAV's commitment to advancing its mission-led approach and underpins the region's suitability as a catalyst for transformative growth.
Unleashing the power of STEM and local talent
The partnership between HAV and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) extends beyond narrow commercial interests. It ensures a mutually beneficial long-term future, for example by encompassing a collaboration with local educational institutions, such as the Doncaster University Technical College (UTC), and with local strategic partners, such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). By linking with these esteemed institutions, HAV ensures a seamless integration of cutting-edge technology and local talent development. This initiative not only brings job opportunities and economic prosperity to South Yorkshire but also creates a robust ecosystem for nurturing future generations of skilled professionals in the emerging aviation industry. The Doncaster Chamber of Commerce (organisers of the event) have actively championed the development of employer-led curriculums in schools, including through development of a Local Skills Improvement Plan and through sponsoring the implementation of the UTC. Easy access to supply chains and the availability of skills and talent for HAV’s future workforce are key reasons for locating in the region.
Investing in the future of South Yorkshire
HAV's decision to build the Airlander production facility in South Yorkshire holds vast promise for the region's future. The development programme, that will see HAV invest up to £310 million, will generate more than 1,200 jobs, providing a significant boost to the local economy. The establishment of this state-of-the-art facility signals HAV's enduring commitment to South Yorkshire's long-term growth, supporting the region's status as a strategic investment location for the UK. This complements South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority strategy, as well as the long-term vision of leaders in Doncaster City Council and builds on Doncaster’s recent recognition as the best small city in Europe in which to invest.
Leading the charge towards a future of sustainable aviation
Airlander's revolutionary technology has the potential to transform regional aviation and contribute to a sustainable future for air travel. With its capability to reduce emissions by up to 90% from 2027 and deliver zero-emissions aviation by 2030, Airlander represents a compelling solution to the pressing climate challenges faced by the industry. By basing the production facility in South Yorkshire, HAV not only spearheads the development of eco-friendly aircraft but also positions the region as a leader in sustainable aviation.
A catalyst for progress and collaboration
The decision to invest in South Yorkshire resonates with the sentiments expressed by leaders at the recent conference in Doncaster. Dan Fell, CEO of the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, expresses his support for HAV's investment in South Yorkshire: "Having joined up leadership, a long-term vision, and getting our act together on skills planning have all helped bring this game-changing business to the region."
Lindsey Glasby, senior Vice Principal at Doncaster UTC acknowledging the importance of local talent, highlights the positive impact HAV's investment will have on Doncaster: "Talented young people coming through Doncaster UTC and the AMRC training centre" are already making a difference.
In his remarks to the conference, Tom also highlighted the importance of spirit. The region offers skills, supply chains, space to do business and strategy that supports investment. But it also has a can-do spirit embodies in its public and private sector leaders that makes South Yorkshire a compelling and welcoming place for long-term and sustainable development.
Hybrid Air Vehicles’ decision to establish the Airlander production in South Yorkshire is a strategic move for the business and supports realising the region's long term vision and economic potential. By investing in local talent development, leading on the delivery of sustainable aviation, and forming strategic partnerships, HAV demonstrates its commitment to driving progress. The decision not only showcases South Yorkshire as an investment hub but also helps realise HAV's dedication to revolutionise air travel with an ultra-low emissions aircraft. As Airlander takes flight, we hope it will help South Yorkshire will soar to new heights, and leave an indelible mark on the global aviation industry.