Carolina España highlights that the Andalusian exports of the sector grow more than the national set and Villamandos announces 40 million for aid to innovative initiatives

The directors Carolina España and José Carlos Gómez Villamandos have participated in the opening table of the conference “The impact of the aerospace sector on the Andalusian economy”, organized by the Regional Ministry of Economy, Finance and European Funds and the Regional Ministry of University, Reasearch and Innovation with the sponsorship of Airbus, the Foundation La Caixa and the Cartuja Science and Technology Park, in which the Head of Economy, Finance and European Funds highlighted the strength of the Andalusian aerospace sector, whose exports grew by 53% between January and October, to 1,492 million euros, while in Spain as a whole, grew by 34%.

Carolina España pointed out that Andalusia is the Region that contributes the most to the growth of Spanish exports in the sector, around 50%. In this sense, the director highlighted the weight of the Region in the European aerospace scene, and has ensured that “a serious government, like the one chaired by Juanma Moreno and of which I am a part, committed to the industry and that knows the value and the potential of a market such as aerospace, has no choice but to position itself unconditionally alongside companies, offering a total willingness for companies like Airbus to continue to bet on developing their activity in our community and, in this way, continue to generate wealth and employment for Andalusia and for the Andalusians”.

For this reason, during the conference it was explained that the Action Plan of the Andalusian Aerospace Strategy, which will be in charge of concretizing and channeling both the financing and the public actions and strategies of the Board in support of this industry, will be launched throughout this quarter.

In this sense, the head of University, Research and Innovation, José Carlos Gómez Villamandos, assured during his speech that one of the backbones of said plan, “which we are developing together with the Regional Ministry of Industrial Policy and Energy”, will be the public-private collaboration, through the so-called Public Purchase of Innovation. This innovative contracting system of the regional Administration will focus on the promotion of different actions in the field of drones and space, and will be complemented with calls for aid to reinforce the structures and agents of the aerospace sector.

In this context, the head of University, Research and Innovation reminded the sector that 40 million euros will shortly be activated for different calls for collaboration between knowledge agents and the Andalusian productive sector focused on supporting innovative initiatives for companies, as well as 100 million euros through loans aimed at the business fabric for digital tools.

Similarly, he clarified that one of the main sources of funding for the Action Plan will come from the new European framework, whose resources he considered “essential” to continue supporting this segment of the Andalusian economy. However, he warned that both the execution of these resources and the very articulation of this planning instrument must consider innovation and technological disruption as priorities, since they are “those that allow the business fabric to be strong, gain competitive advantage and, even projecting itself into new markets”.

In this sense, Gómez Villamandos added that the new European financing framework 2021-2027 and the collaboration between the public sector and the private initiative will be decisive in accelerating the development of the Andalusian aerospace industry, a strategic activity for the regional economy.

Strategic sector

Both Gómez Villamandos and España coincided in highlighting the strategic nature of the aerospace industry for the Andalusian economy as a whole, as well as its contribution to the reorientation towards a development model built on the basis of technology, knowledge and innovation.

According to the latest data available for the sector, this activity constitutes an engine of economic growth and competitiveness that invoices more than 2,000 million euros a year in Andalusia, is supported by a business fabric made up of more than 140 companies and generates more than 12,000 direct jobs, which translates into a contribution of 1.26% to the regional GDP. “It is a sector with very high added value that in the last decade has almost doubled its sales, with a great export capacity and that provides quality employment”, remarked the head of University, adding that “this tradition and strength have allowed to place the community among the main aerospace hubs in Europe”. In fact, Andalusia stands as the third enclave along with Toulouse and Hamburg and the only one in Spain that has a final assembly line (FAL) for large aircraft.

On the other hand, he made available to the industrial fabric in this sector the lines of work and advances that have been promoted from the Andalusian knowledge ecosystem to promote its growth, while recalling the efforts that the regional government is making to attract new business projects. “Our objective is to achieve the anchorage in Andalusia of relevant and specialized companies in this segment, so that they can develop their design and production centers here”, he stressed.

Bet of the Andalusian Government

Carolina España affirmed that, “taking into account the figures, it is clear that we are facing a solid, efficient sector that has found in our region a safe, trustworthy and prosperous space to continue investing and developing extraordinarily positive industrialization programs. And at the same time, Andalusia has found in the aerospace industry a strategic sector for our economy, which is decisively committed to R+D+i, which generates quality employment and which is key for the foreign sector: 4 out of every 10 euros exported in the aerospace field in Spain come from Andalusia”, she stated.

The director referred to Andalusia as “one of the main European aerospace hubs” and stressed that “the Andalusian Government works daily to ensure that this industry has a greater presence in our territory every day.”

For his part, Villamandos made available to the fabric that operates in this sector the lines of work and advances that are being promoted from the Andalusian knowledge ecosystem to promote its growth, while recalling the efforts that the regional government is making to capture new business projects. “Our objective is to achieve the anchorage in Andalusia of relevant and specialized companies in this segment, so that they develop their design and production centers here”.

During the day, Gómez Villamandos highlighted the commitment of the Regional Ministry to define a specific policy that will establish the requirements and the procedure for the accreditation of the Andalusian clusters, as well as help lines linked to them. Through this strategy, it is intended to promote business clusters so that, together with knowledge-providing entities, R+D+i is boosted “reinforcing and favoring the competitiveness of key sectors in Andalusia by promoting innovation, technological development and internationalization of its associates”, he pointed out.

Innovative Defense Node

In the same way, Gómez Villamandos pointed out that the Regional Ministry of University, Research and Innovation is working to turn the community into the first innovative node in defense matters in Spain, and highlighted the importance of the Defense sector in Andalusia, “a thriving sector, which especially in Andalusia has a pioneering and leading innovative industry in the world, whose developments are at some point applicable to the daily life of society”. It constitutes a key segment of the economy, since it promotes progress and generates business traction, directly or indirectly, in other sectors while promoting qualified employment and territorial cohesion.

In addition, Gómez Villamandos explained that the Regional Ministry of University considers it a priority to publicize the cohesive ecosystem that Andalusia has, as well as the excellence and quality of its research and innovative activity. To this end, the Junta will participate this year for the first time in the International Defense and Security Fair with an institutional stand, through the Andalusian Knowledge Agency.

This stand will support members of the Andalusian knowledge system, including Andalusian universities, the aerospace and naval cluster. With this, the aim is to give visibility to the scientific and technical R+D+I activities of Andalusia in the industry sector in general and security in particular. This participation is also related to the holding of different planned meetings in which to interconnect and enhance synergies between the agents of the Andalusian knowledge system, the experimental and technological centers and the companies.