The Andalusian aeronautical sector has consolidated its national and international position after posting a turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros and creation of 1,231 jobs over the last year, 8% and 16% more than in 2008 respectively. The Andalusian industry also increased its productivity by 4.2% last year, as well as its share of the total turnover for the sector in Spain, reaching 24.1%.

The Andalusian aeronautical sector has consolidated its position in spite of the current international economic situation. For yet another year, it has emerged as one of the most improved clusters in the Spanish and European aeronautical industry in terms of turnover, unemployment and productivity.

Far from suffering due to the financial crisis, the Statistical Report on the Andalusian Aeronautical Sector for 2009 jointly prepared by the Hélice Foundation and Aertec has confirmed that our region is in the midst of a process of growth, expansion and diversification and that the sector has become one of the driving forces of the Andalusian economy in recent years. Having said that, its growth was still much less than in 2008, a year which exceeded all forecasts. The Andalusian aeronautical industry increased its turnover, employment, productivity, and level of qualifications in 2009.

Diversification has also increased, one of the most notable aspects in light of the considerable dependence which Andalusian companies still have on the major European manufacturers (Airbus and Airbus Military). More specifically, the Andalusian aeronautical sector had a turnover of more than 1.5 billion euros and created 1,231 new jobs in 2009, signifying a growth of 8.8% and 16.3% respectively over the figures for the previous year. Andalusia also increased its share of the national sales figures (reaching 24.1% of the total turnover for Spain) and is one of the Spanish regions which has created jobs in the sector during 2009, increasing from 22.6% to 24.7% of the total for the industry at a national level (8,786 jobs). This growth has been especially significant in the fields of Engineering and Consultancy (46.1%) and Services, Testing and Space (48.2%), followed somewhat further behind by Complementary Industries (17.3%).

The positive evolution of the turnover and employment figures has also resulted in an increase in productivity (aggregate turnover with respect to total employment), which increased by 4.2% last year. The report with the data on the Andalusian aeronautical sector was presented last 18 June at the Andalusian Aerospace Technology Park, Aeropolis, by the Regional Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Science, Antonio Ávila. He was accompanied by the Director-General of the Andalusian Agency for Innovation and Development (IDEA), Antonio Valverde, and the Chairman of the Business Action Council of the Hélice Foundation and Director-General of Aertec, Antonio Gómez Guillamón.

The Regional Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Science highlighted that this evolution has confirmed Andalusia’s status as Spain’s second most important aeronautical cluster solely behind Madrid, and demonstrates that the sector is weathering the economic crisis and continues to maintain positive growth despite the difficulties affecting the industry at an international level. The Andalusian aeronautical industry has experienced continuous growth since 2001, the first year that the Hélice Foundation started systematic collection of data on the sector. In this period, the sector has experienced growth which is unparalleled by any other Spanish region, with a 211.3% increase in turnover (1,046,200,000 euros) and a 131.2 % increase in the number of jobs (4,986 more jobs).

A changing trend

As Antonio Ávila highlighted during the presentation of the report, over 2009 there has been a change in the composition of the Andalusian aeronautical business network, with various business alliances emerging aimed at exploiting synergies and thereby achieving greater competitiveness which “has enabled them to compete for major projects on a level with their national and international rivals and reinforce the Andalusian sector’s position on the international market.”

These new company groups are essentially Alestis Aerospace, the first Andalusian Tier 1 company, which has incorporated Sacesa and the companies of the Alcor Group; and to a lesser extent Elimco, which incorporated various small businesses into its group last year. One of the key trends confirmed last year was the growing importance of product sales to customers other than Airbus (Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier, Eurocopter, etc), which increased by 42% with respect to 2008. These sales accounted for 5% of the total turnover for the Andalusian sector in 2001, while in 2009 this figure increased to 21%.

This process is the result of efforts by the sector to improve the diversification of its customer and product portfolio at an international level, reducing the degree of dependence upon a single customer and improving the equilibrium of the Andalusian industry. A highlight of this diversification process is the increasing prominence of the development of UAV products. Although research and development in this area began some years ago, 2009 was an important year for this field. The turnover for these products is still small, at around 700,000 euros. However, it has been recorded independently to monitor its evolution given the importance which this line of products is expected to assume in the coming years, with a key role being played in this sense by the Centre for Advanced Aerospace Technology, FADA-CATEC.

Major manufacturers and auxiliary industry

The Andalusian aeronautical sector currently includes 130 companies, of which more than 90% are concentrated in the Seville-Cádiz area, as was the case last year, ratifying this zone’s status as the powerhouse of the Andalusian aeronautical industry. The breakdown by activity of these companies is little changed from that of 2008, with mechanical, tooling and assembly companies accounting for 41% and 21% in the field of engineering.

The remainder consists of companies in the areas of composite materials and plastics, electrical materials and electronics, testing and technical analysis and services. The skills profile of the workers has undergone significant changes, with a 35% increase in highly skilled positions (management, engineers and graduate level) with respect to the previous year. The Engineering area has had the biggest increase in the numbers of staff assigned (a 51.1% increase). In terms of the positive evolution of the turnover, the Report shows that the major manufacturers (Airbus Military and Airbus Spain) have practically maintained their levels of revenue and employment, with a decrease of 0.6% and an increase of 0.2% respectively. Airbus Military had a turnover of 1% less than in 2008, at 924 million euros, and increased its staff by 1%, with 2,435 workers. Airbus Spain, meanwhile, increased its revenue by 2.5% (totalling 129 million euros) and reduced the number of workers by 3% to 465 workers.

The Andalusian auxiliary industry increased its sales by 36.3% with respect to the previous year (488.4 million euros as opposed to 358.4 million euros for 2008) and 26.3% in terms of employment (1,224 more jobs). The policy of subcontracting of industrial activities to other companies in the sector by the major manufacturers and the increase in new customers from outside Andalusia have resulted in an increase in sales for the Andalusian auxiliary industry to 488.4 million euros, 36.3% more than in 2008. Employment also increased by 1,224 workers (26.3% more than the previous year). There was a significant increase in the staff assigned to engineering activities, which together with R+D (the two areas which require the greatest level of technical skills), have increased from 19% of the total in 2008 to 22.4% in 2009. Also noteworthy was the increase in productivity, with growth of 7.9% to reach 83,000 euros per worker.

A promising future

Apart from the figures presented in the report, there are certain standout features of the Andalusian aeronautical sector in 2009 which will contribute to further consolidate Andalusia as a strategic axis of the European and international aeronautical industry. “We want the aeronautical sector to continue to be a driving force for the Andalusian economy and the economic recovery of our region,” stated Antonio Ávila.

The constitution and consolidation of Alestis Aerospace as the first Tier 1 supplier to have its headquarters in Andalusia constitutes a major step in order to continue to compete for further major contracts to the benefit of the entire Andalusian business network. The creation of Alestis has led to various major jobs in Andalusia under the A350 programme, although its impact in terms of the revenue generated will not be evident until the end of 2010. This emerging trend 14