John Whalley

Co-chair. Space Wales Leadership Group

John Whalley is chief executive of the Aerospace Wales Forum and co-chair of the recently formed Space Wales Leadership Group. John spent 30 years with British Aerospace including 15 years as a divisional director in a variety of leadership roles. In 2001 he was approached by the Welsh Development Agency to establish Aerospace Wales as the industry association for aerospace, defence, aviation and space. He was subsequently appointed Chief Executive and the Forum now has over 200 member organisations across the sectors represented. Aerospace Wales works closely with Welsh Government on sector policy and strategy and the delivery of services to members. With 5% of the overall UK population, Wales has around 10% of the UK aerospace industry and so definitely punches above its weight.

In 2015 Aerospace Wales worked in partnership with Welsh Government and the Satellite Applications Catapult to publish a Wales Space Strategy with an aspiration to match the success achieved in aerospace in the rapidly growing space sector. In late 2020 the Forum was awarded a contract by the Welsh Government, funded by the UK Space Agency, to map the capabilities and opportunities for growth of the space sector in Wales and to develop a strategic action plan. John took a lead role in the project which included establishing a Space Wales network of companies and the Space Wales Leadership Group.

Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, based at Llanbedr Airfield, has established itself as a flight test and evaluation centre for novel and disruptive technologies building on the site’s heritage as an MoD test site and its connection to the test range and segregated airspace in Cardigan Bay. In 2018 the site was identified as a potential horizontal launch site with the subsequent creation of the Spaceport Snowdonia brand. Snowdonia is a member of the Forum and Space Wales and John is working in partnership with the facility, its stakeholders and Welsh Government to develop the proposition of Llanbedr as a key centre within the broader Wales aerospace and space strategies.

Image of John Whalley



7th July 2021

Keynote Theatre

UK Spaceports; Launching the ‘Great British Space Race’

In this ‘Farnborough First’ gathering together four of the seven potential spaceports in the UK, you will hear an update on their progress, plans and aspirations for the future.

Find out more