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THE AERONAUTICAL AND SPACE INDUSTRY IN SPAIN

The aeronautical and space industry is characterized by a high concentration of technologies and professional skills, besides a multiple uses of its products, and is particularly developed in Spain. In fact in 2015 it has reached a turnover of € 11.700 millions marking a +10% compared to the previous year and a employment level of 53.000 employees. The trend of this industry has been marked by high rates of growth and strong investments in R&S&I activity that gets around the 10% of the turnover. In addition, the 70% of the incomes of the industry are exports, percentage indicating the extraordinary effort of the Spanish enterprises to increase their technological skill and involvement in foreign markets.

According to the data from the TEDAE organization (Spanish Association of Technologies for Defense, Aviation and Space) Spain is currently 8th in the world ranking of the aeronautical with a high companies specialization in the industries of: military cargo transport , low pressure turbines, maintenance activities, refuelling flying airplanes, aerostructures  in mixed materials  and management systems for air traffic.
Spain contributes also to different European programs, both civilians and military, for the aeronautical development and as a member of the ESA (European Spatial Agency) in the last years has increased its participation to the missions of the agency implicating an important return for the country in terms of contracts for the Spanish enterprise and giving the possibility to have the more sophisticated spatial technologies in research to the scientific community of the country.

 

Among the supporting facilities to the aeronautical industry, there are in Spain five clusters situated in the regions of Madrid, Andalusia, Countries Basque, Castilla-La Mancha and Catalogna. The madrilenian aeronautical district is the one hosting the greatest number of enterprises and it holds the most elevated percentage of both the level of turnover (58% of the total) and occupation (50% of the total), while regarding the aerospace industry the Countries Basque contributes with a 25% to the creation of the total turnover of the sector at national level. The activity of the Basque aerospace enterprises is also supported by the presence in the region of infrastructures finalized to host the most innovative technological enterprises and offer them a whole range of advanced services in the field of the research and technological transfer.

Among the business opportunities that the Spanish aeronautical field offers the following areas must be underlined:
• ATM (Air Traffic Managemen): the technologies related to air traffic are extensively developed in Spain. The main potentialities of the filed can be found in the ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) systems that will allow the coordination by satellite of air traffic within 2020;
• Avionica: electronic equipments (communication, navigation and flight control systems) representing a potential developing market  in Spain;
• Training centres for pilots and maintenance technicians;
• Helicopters: the final assembly line of the Eurocopter, situated in the Spanish province of Albacete, has created new opportunities for this industry (assembly services, making of components, maintenance);
• UAV (vehicle without crew): despite the fact that the uses related to defense has been the principals for these vehicles so far, many civil applications are being developed and Spain in this fiels offers many potentialities.

Besides these areas, also there are composite materials that today are representing the future of the technologies in the manufacturing of aeroservices. Spain is in cutting-edge of this technology and the future perspectives are optimistic especially as it regards:

• Design and manufacturing of aeroservices in material composite and specialized equipments;
• Supply of raw materials for composite materials. Spain is one of the principal consumers of raw materials (glass and carbon fibers, pre-preg, resins, etc...) and an increase of the request is expected. Such expectations have pushed some suppliers to set themselves in Spain in order to better answer to local clients;
• Fixing and maintenance of the aeroservices in composite materials. The general use of composite materials in the main structures of the airplanes will necessarily involve a higher services request of fixing, maintenance and revision of these components.