Automotive & Aerospace

The Northern Powerhouse region accounts for 48% of all UK passenger vehicle production and we are home the only military/civilian enabled airport in the UK – our automotive and aerospace sector is booming.

Infrastructure and Innovation

Tees Valley has some of the most efficient production facilities in the world and the large-scale infrastructure that the region offers is ideal for automotive manufacturers. The area is innovative and forward-thinking, allowing it to maintain its position at the leading edge of developments in this sector.

Liberty Steel’s 3D testing facility will develop and manufacture new speciality alloy metals powders for additive manufacturing applications, such as 3D printing, engine parts, a market set to be worth more than £1billion by 2026.

Global Confidence

International companies enjoying success here include US company Cummins, which has been manufacturing engines in Darlington for more than 50 years; Japanese car parts manufacturer Nifco, which produces parts used by some of the world’s largest car makers; ElringKlinger (GB), experts in the design and manufacture of specialty gaskets; and off-road giant Caterpillar, which has two bases in Tees Valley. From its Stockton location it uses the latest technology to cut, weld and machine all the major structures for use at its assembly plant and from the Redcar site it produces steel track shoes.

Our automotive supply chain produces products that are supplied to some of the world’s largest automotive OEMs, including General Motors, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Nissan.


Nissan is the UK’s largest and most productive automotive plant. As a result, the region has an envious automotive supply chain, consisting of over 240 companies, including 28 tier-one suppliers. One in three cars made in Britain is manufactured by Nissan in the North-East and from here it exports to 130 international markets.

Gateway to International Markets

Automotive manufacturers need skilled workers, a good supply chain, and good access to roads, rail and ports – all qualities present in the North-East. AV Dawson supplies Nissan’s vehicle plant in Sunderland with steel used to build models, including the Qashqai and Leaf electric vehicle. Nissan places orders 48 hours ahead of need, with confirmation or amendments 24 hours before, for delivery just four hours before the steel is needed on the line (matching the press line production cycle).

Aerospace and Defence

Tees Valley has a vibrant aerospace and defence supply chain, which includes innovative companies delivering services from aircraft recycling, overhaul and repair through to manufacturing insulation services for leading OEMs and providing internationally renowned fire training.

Teesside International Airport

Teesside International Airport is at the heart of the aerospace industry in Tees Valley. Business and general aviation are core activities at the airport and businesses on-site include Global aviation giant Willis Lease Finance Corporation (WLFC) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Willis Aviation Services Limited (WASL). They are developing an up to £25million maintenance facility and a state-of-the-art Jet Centre at the airport. Draken Europe is also based at the airport, housing aircraft and supporting the critical role the firm plays in training combat pilots from the Royal Air Force, United States Air Force and other NATO member states. Serco International Fire Training Centre and Sycamore Aviation also call Teesside International home.

The airport Master Plan presents a vision for repositioning the airport and looks to secure additional investment to continue to establish a vibrant specialist airport. A key feature is the 2291 x 45 metre runway, which is capable of accepting an aircraft of any size, including the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov.


Find out more about the Airport Business Park here

Teesside University

Teesside University also offers specialist training and international expertise in aeronautical engineering and aerospace training. Its Aviation Skills Academy is a collaboration between the Aviation Skills Partnership, local education providers and industry. Currently Teesside University’s BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering course includes a range of fundamental topics in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, materials engineering and design, as well as specialist aerospace and aeronautical topics.

Teesside Calling, welcoming students
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