The Hélice Cluster starts an internationalization plan aiming
the increase of the scope and presence of Andalusian aerospace industry in
foreign markets. The initiative, that will be developed throughout the next two
years, includes the development of several lines of action, such as the
participation at the main fairs and specialized events of the sector, the
reinforcement of the collaboration with other European clusters and the
execution of a communication plan to strengthen its corporate image"

The evolution of aeronautic
industry in the last decades has trans­formed the sector into a
global-structured industry, with a supply chain where companies from different
countries are participating, resulting from an integration process of different
aircraft manufacturers, es­pecially in Europe, that nowadays continues with a
similar process regard­ing high level suppliers or subcontractors. Aircrafts
constructed nowadays in Europe or North America are manufactured in China,
Japan, Central America, etc. and are sold all around the world. Therefore,
internationaliza­tion, is nowadays a key factor for all companies and
institutions developing its activity in the aerospace sector and searching for
new business opportu­nities together with partner and collaborators all around
the world.

Conscious of the importance of
this fact, and of the necessity of keeping on fostering the presence of
Andalusian companies in the main internation­al programs of the sector, the
Hélice Cluster has started an internationaliza­tion plan to boost the scope of
aeronautical companies in the community and to contribute consolidating its
image as an unifying agent of all the An­dalusian aerospace cluster, an
international benchmark that acts as inter­locutor before administrations and
main players in the industry.

With this plan, Hélice wants to
consolidate a course already started in 2005 with its first activities related
to external promotion, but now, it is pur­suing another step forward,
developing an action with a strategic goal and a integrated method. The plan
has been started last summer and will last two years. It includes different
actions focused on the promotion of the An­dalusian aeronautic cluster in
different national and international spheres, boosting cooperation relationships
with the European aerospace clusters network, coordinating proposals for joint
R&D projects and developing an integral strategy of communication gathering
all these actions together. The deployment of the plan will be possible thanks
to the co-financing of the General Direction of Industry and Small and Medium
Sized Companies, of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, through its
annual announce­ment of boost of the Innovating Business Groups, AEI2012.

A “premier division” cluster

The guidelines of the European
Union regarding the knowledge-based economic growth have, as fundamental basis,
the implementation of Strat­egies of Intelligent Specializations adapted and
customized to the territories (region, nation, etc.) and the development of the
existing clusters in order to transform them into World Class Clusters.
Therefore, the European Commission’s advice is not to create new clusters but
to boost those that already exist –the best ones-, to transform them into
international, strong and consolidated clusters. Thus, it defines a 15-criteria
panel to evaluate the clusters that already exist in Europe, five of them
directly related to the international visibility of the cluster and its scope
beyond its action sphere.

Under such
premises, Hélice pledged its commitment to foster the inter­nationalization
activities of the Andalusian aerospace cluster with two fun­damental goals.
Firstly, with a short-term tactic aim: to boost the internation­al scope
through its participation on the most important events and forums in the
aeronautical scene, with the advantage of being well defined, having a notable
tradition and being a meeting point for all agents of the sector.

The plan also aims a strategic
goal, rather in a long term, which is to make the right movements to fulfil the
requirements in order to become a world class cluster, able to lead the
aerospace industry’s growth in the interna­tional field and to coordinate its
development toward activities that need the collaboration with other productive
sectors, that is to say, becoming a driv­ing force or link among them.

Consolidation at the main international scenarios

The internationalization plan
of Hélice is developed according to five main lines, some of them, already
started. That is the case of the participation at main international events in
the aeronautic sector, an activity in which Hélice has the support of Extenda,
the Andalusian Agency of Foreign Promotion (within the Economy, Innovation,
Science and Employment Regional Minis­try), which has been collaborating for
several years in order to increase the presence of companies in the foreign
markets. Among the initiatives result­ing from that process, there must be
highlighted the organization of Aero­space and Defense Meetings (ADM) Seville
2012, held in May, which was the first international business event for the
aerospace and defence sector in Spain, which has become a shuttle to widen
international relationships of Andalusian aerospace companies.

The actions started by the new
Helice plan, within this sphere, have had the most important international
aerospace fairs as main players: Farnbor­ough (United Kingdom), held in July,
and ILA Berlin (Germany), last month of September. The Andalusian attendance in
both events was a complete success, since attending companies and institutions
held important busi­ness meetings and commercial contacts with international
firms of the sector, which could enable the arrival of new contracts and orders
for the aeronautical industry in the region. In fact, Andalusia was the only
Spanish region with its own pavilion in both fairs, with the participation of
companies like Alestis, Aerosertec, Cesa, Ghenova, Prescal, Sofitec, UMI
Aeronáutica, Indaero-Tecnigrab and Aerotecnic-Mecatecnic, as well as the
Andalusian Aerospace Technological Park, Aerópolis.

As a result of the different
meetings held in both fairs by Andalusian companies (about 320 approximately),
there were established important international agreements of collaboration,
such as the one subscribed by Prescal and Sogeclair Aerospace, a subsidiary
firm of the French company Sogeclair, with the purpose of complementing
activities and capabilities in the field of engineering to participate in the common
management of new projects in the sector. On its turn, Hélice held meetings
with different busi­ness organizations and aerospace clusters from different
countries like USA (Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina); Mexico (Proméxico,
Chihua­hua); Italy (Campania Aerospace, Torino Piamonte); Canada (Ontario), Bel­gium
(Flag and Skywin) and Germany (Aviabelt Bremen, Hamburg Aviation, BavAiria,
Niedersachsen Aviation).

The actions of the plan for the
coming months include the participation at Aeromart, the most important
aeronautic business meeting of the year in France that is held in December in
Toulouse, and the attendance to the next edition of Le Bourget, in July 2013 in Paris.

Fostering a European excellence network

Another
important subject of the internationalization strategy of the Hélice Cluster
regarding the Andalusian sector is the collaboration with the other European
clusters through the EACP (European Aerospace Clusters Part­nership). Hélice is
also member of this association, which aim is to be a driv­ing force and to
enable the transnational dialog, the information and knowl­edge exchange and
the cooperation among associated clusters, which allows them to offer support
to their companies, research centres and public institutions to work together
in common projects boost­ing the development and the innovation in the sector.
The efforts of Hélice within EACP are heading for supporting the activity of
this ex­cellence network among clusters, in such a way that it helps boosting
the competitiveness of the European aeronautical industry, including the
Andalusian, in the global market. Thus, Hélice is involved in the dif­ferent
working groups created in the association, which are focused on training,
finances, and internationalization subjects.

As a third line of the plan,
and linked to the previous one, there is the collaboration with other European
clusters of EACP to create a project in the VII R&D Framework Program of
the European Commission, specifically, within the line dedicated to create
Creating cohesive links and common knowledge between potential partners in EU
Framework Programme Collaborative Projects. The aim of this initiative is to
link coordinators and potential partners to develop joint projects within the
program in the field of Aeronautics and Air Transport.

The goal aimed with such
action, is, first of all, to have a map of aero­space capabilities of each
region or European cluster and to identify those regions with a low
participation in the Framework Programs with regard to their capabilities,
which would be therefore benefited for hav­ing best contacts in specific
technological areas of other clusters, spe­cially between Western and Eastern
Europe. This way, the companies of the Andalusian aerospace cluster could
establish important techno­logical collaborations with companies all around
Europe and to share experiences and knowledge to improve competitiveness.

National and international scope with its own brand

The presence at specialised
forum of the sector both national and international is the fourth action line
integrated in the internationaliza­tion plan of Hélice. In this case, it is
about fostering the participation in other important events of the sector that
may also contribute to im­prove the positioning of the Andalusian industry.
Among these actions, there must be remarked the participation at the annual
meeting of ASD (AeroSpace and Defense Industries Association of Europe). This
meet­ing will be held this year in October, in Lisbon (Portugal) and there will
meet together 1,000 professionals, representatives of sectorial Europe­an
associations, members of boards of directors of Tier one, European commissioner
and parliamentary members and other representatives of international
organizations. The Hélice Cluster has been invited to at­tend this meeting, and
to participate with the conference “Clusters and their role in the improvement
of the Supplying Chain”. The attendance to this meeting, considered as on of
the most important events of the sector in Europe, will mean a step forward to
consolidate the interna­tional strategy of the Andalusian aerospace cluster.

Hélice will also promote an
aeronautic business meeting that will be about organizational Lean in the
sector. The activity organized with the help of the International Institute San
Telmo, will be aimed to business­men and directives of SME, technological
centres and administration linked to the aerospace sector in Andalusia and it
will have a practical case and a debate table made up by first level directives
of am Andalu­sian Tier 1, and two Tier 2 specializing in manufacture and
engineering services. Also, there will be a meeting with the European Tier 1 GKN
within its Business Action Board, during the month of October.

All these actions are complemented with the sixth and last
one ac­tion line of the plan, which is the value enhancement of the Andalu­sian
cluster through a corporate RP plan which aims reinforcing its image and the
image of Andalusia as an international first level aero­space hub. This
initiative considers the launching of a new corpora­tive image of Hélice
(already started), several promotional marketing actions, the broadcast of
general and specialised media, and the dissemination through new 2.0
communication channels and social networks. To summarize, the goal is granting
the cluster its own joint and powerful brand, to become a benchmark of all the
companies of the Andalusian aeronautical industry in the main national and
interna­tional events.