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Aviation boost

Flight academy ready for take off in Glasgow

Nicola Sturgeon tries her hand at a flight simulator

Glasgow Science Centre is to become home to the UK’s first Newton Flight Academy, a permanent classroom used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts that will include three full-motion flight simulators. 

The academy is made possible through funding from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and is being developed in partnership with First Scandinavia.

Boeing has invested more than £3.5 million in the past three years to set up a network of STEM-focused “Newton Rooms” around Europe.

The one in Glasgow will be the first full academy outside of Norway when it opens in the spring of 2022 and was announced today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to the Boeing Innovation Forum at Glasgow Airport.

The two-day event brings together partners in Scotland and the broader aviation sector to demonstrate the role today’s sustainable technologies can play in the future of aviation and prepare the industry for a more sustainable future. 

The Forum is under the umbrella of the Boeing Scotland Alliance, which was launched in 2020 with Scottish Enterprise.


It is designed to explore opportunities to work together in Scotland, to double Boeing’s supply chain and create 200 jobs in five years.

On Tuesday, Boeing and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland opened a new £11.8 million R&D programme next to Glasgow Airport that will explore novel manufacturing technologies for metallic components.

The centrepiece of the forum is a visit by Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator aircraft. Since 2012, the ecoDemonstrator aircraft programme has accelerated innovation by testing nearly 200 promising technologies to address challenges for airlines, passengers and the environment. 

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, which owns and operates Glasgow Airport, said “This two-day event is about recognising the huge progress the aviation and aerospace sectors have made as we work towards decarbonising what is truly one of the most global industries and looking ahead to what else we can achieve through innovation and partnerships on our collective journey to net zero.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “Delegates from around the world will start to arrive in Glasgow for COP26 in a matter of weeks. The summit is the world’s best chance – and possibly one of our last chances – to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“We need to find ways to decarbonise air travel if we are to achieve that goal while rebuilding connectivity, and that needs international collaboration between governments and industry.

“Only by maximising the opportunities in front of us – research and development; inspiring young people to consider STEM careers in Scotland and further afield; and testing out sustainable technologies – can we endeavour to leave a planet that future generations can be proud of. 

“Every step is an investment in our young people’s future, and innovations like Boeing’s Glasgow Newton Flight Academy enable young people to join us on this crucial journey and discover the fascinating learning and career opportunities a net-zero society creates.”

Boeing partnered with ADS, British Airways, Glasgow Airport, Loganair, Menzies Aviation, Scottish Development International, Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise on the forum, and dozens more were represented in the supplier showcase and through panel discussions. 

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