Jeremy Greaves, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Strategy
The UK Armed Forces Winter Sports Championships are an invaluable annual opportunity to rekindle old friendships, forge new relationships and to catch up with colleagues and partners from across industry in convivial surroundings. They are also a great opportunity for our Armed Forces to develop closer links with industry. I’m sure it doesn’t need me to say that not having them take place in 2021 is a great disappointment for us all.
With this in mind, therefore, I am thrilled that team UKAFWSA have still decided to issue their annual publication. It encourages us to start planning and is a happy reminder of what is not too far down the road. But, as we wait for life to return to normal, I think it would be important to look back at the positive projects that we witnessed during the 2020 pandemic and take some vicarious applause for what we have all achieved in this difficult year.
I can picture clearly in those early days of the pandemic when the RAF assisted in bringing home the passengers of a cruise ship which had encountered an outbreak of the coronavirus. Not really knowing that this was just the start. Subsequently, we witnessed our military partners across the breadth of the UK deployed in support of our civil authorities, our military scientists at DSTL helping to increase national testing capacity and now a Vaccine Task Force set up to ensure the efficient delivery of a vaccine to the public once it is ready. A phenomenal effort from a world class organization.
For Airbus, we are extremely proud with how we were able to deliver large quantities of essential PPE supplies via our aircraft. The ability to fly across the globe at speed, for humanitarian purposes reminded me of how Airbus products literally unite people around the world. I also cannot forget the images from our site in Broughton, North Wales, where we were an integral part of the Ventilator Challenge UK project – the consortium of UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors. Seeing our engineers, skilled at producing a majestic A350 wing applying their expertise to the production of medical ventilators for the UK, was awe inspiring. 50% of a workshare that produced 13,437 units, via aerospace engineering! On that positive note, may I wish you all our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021!