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Mike Richardson examines the rise and rise of Spanish aviation and in particular its Andalusian region’s thriving aerospace manufacturing capabilities.
As the largest of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, Andalusia conjures up powerful images of a country famed for its flamenco, fiestas and feisty passion. It’s a land which has both produced and inspired great writers, poets, actors and painters.
Spain’s involvement in aerospace first began in 1920 when Juan De la Cierva invented the single-rotor Autogyro. Today, the presence of major international OEMs such as Airbus has propelled the growth of its aerospace industry, which now possesses some of the most highly developed and specialised aerospace production techniques in the world. Many of its companies are among the leaders in composites, gas turbine engines and flight simulators, and play major roles in all the current aerospace projects within the EU.
However, what many people don’t realise is that Andalusia has fast become one of Spain’s aerospace manufacturing hotspots with Seville now the home of Airbus’ A400M final assembly line and Spain itself consolidating its position as the third biggest market for civil and military aircraft manufacturing in Europe.
Many international aerospace OEMs working with Spanish companies realise that its aerospace sector is divided into the three major geographic areas of Madrid, Basque Country and Andalusia, Seville. Spain’s Andalusian region has more than a century of tradition in the aerospace industry. The consolidation of the region over the last decade has seen this promising area successfully quadruple its turnover, adding to this quantitative growth other qualities such as productivity improvements, international scope, diversification and specialisation in added value sectors.
Typifying this buzz of aerospace activity, the Andalusian region has increasingly come under the spotlight in recent years due to the appearance of technology parks like Aerópolis in Seville and Tecnobahía in Cadiz. Strategically located a short distance away from the Airbus A400M final assembly line and the tiers one companies of Aernnova and Alestis, one in four employees from the Andalusian aerospace sector are said to be already working in Aerópolis.
Spain’s Andalusian region has more than a century of tradition in the aerospace industry. The consolidation of the region over the last decade has seen this promising area successfully quadruple its turnover, adding to this quantitative growth other qualities such as productivity improvements, international scope, diversification and specialisation in added value sectors.
Encouraged by the Regional Government, Junta de Andalucía, Aerópolis was established in 2003 with the objective of boosting the growth of the aerospace industry through an exclusive site to its development, equipped with quality infrastructure and facilities.
One of the jewel’s in Aerópolis’ crown is the Centre for Advanced Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), a centre of excellence acting as the interface between academia and businesses and working to improve the competitiveness of the sector through scientific research, technological development and innovation.
Overseeing the establishment of these facilities and new indigenous suppliers is the Hélice cluster. Aimed at promoting the sector, boosting member company collaboration and creating a common image overseas, Hélice is helping to make Andalusia an ideal place to invest and engage in top level aerospace business.
The Andalusian aerospace industry has all the tools to consolidate its future. It has the key players and infrastructures, all organised around the Hélice cluster’s defined roadmap. It also has a highly-skilled human resource potential to support all this development. All of which makes Andalusia the ideal place to invest and engage in top level aerospace business in Europe.