Bristol begins aviation centenary celebration
A year-long celebration has begun to mark 100 years of aviation in the West of England, an area that continues to be a hub of the aerospace industry.
Sir George White founded the Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC) at Filton, near Bristol, in February 1910. From these beginnings arose globally-significant enterprises that are now major parts of UK aviation giants Airbus and Rolls-Royce, and an environment that supports aerospace suppliers across the country.
Today, aviation supports 200,000 jobs directly, and 500,000 indirectly, in the UK, and is worth more than £11.5 billion in GDP.
An easyJet Airbus A319 was named 'Sir George White' as part of the launch events, which also included a commemorative flight over the city of Bristol. EasyJet is Airbus's largest European customer, and bases 10 Airbus aircraft at Bristol International Airport year-round.
The 2010 BAC 100 programme will commemorate and promote the West of England’s technological achievements through education and arts projects, exhibitions, publications and community-based events, among other activities.
The year-long celebration is a collaboration between local authorities, businesses and business organisations, heritage groups, arts organisations and other bodies, including Airbus, GWE Business West and Rolls-Royce. Events will not only look at a landmark in aviation history but also explore future challenges and aspirations in aviation design and travel, and consider the wider role of science and technology in shaping the region.
Tom Williams, Airbus executive vice-president of programmes, commented: “BAC 100 celebrates technology, innovation and advanced engineering in the West of England, past, present and future. For 100 years, Airbus and hundreds of other companies have led the technological development of our industry, and designed and manufactured some of the world’s leading aircraft and engines right here in this quiet corner of the UK. Airbus is proud of our heritage in Bristol, and proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of the industry during the BAC 100 celebrations this year.”