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Aeropolis

Velasco highlights the role of the aerospace industry in the Andalusian economy and relies on its strength

The Regional Minister visited the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), based in Aerópolis

The Regional Minister of Economy, Knowledge, Business and University, Rogelio Velasco, reiterated the Andalusian Government's commitment to the aerospace industry `for its decisive contribution to the socio-economic development of the community´, which has become one of the main poles of Europe in this activity, together with Toulouse (France) and Hamburg (Germany). During his visit last September to the Advanced Center for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), home of the Andalusian Foundation for Aerospace Development (FADA), Velasco highlighted `the Executive's support for this sector´ and hoped that `it will continue in the future with the same postive strength that it has been showing in the past´.

The aerospace sector is a key activity in the configuration of the business and employment fabric of Andalusia, since it has managed to generate an industry of high added value, internationalized, demanding research and innovation and that promotes knowledge and university research clusters around it. In fact, Andalusia currently represents 30% of the turnover and national employment in the aerospace industry.

According to the 2018 data, this segment grew to 1.7% in employment, reaching  almost 16,000 direct workers, and kept its turnover at more than 2.5 billion euros. `We hope that companies continue to increase these turnover and employment figures, not only direct but also induced, because it is a well-paid and stable recruitment´ said the Regional Minister of Economy, Knowledge, Business and University.

CATEC, reference for the development of technological systems

During his tour of the CATEC facilities, Velasco cited the center as an example of the development of technological systems for the aerospace sector, ensuring that `it is the only one in Spain exclusively devoted to this activity´. The Andalusian Government's commitment to this type of infrastructure will be reflected in the new Strategic Plan of the sector, a document that will include the promotion of specialized infrastructure and innovation spaces linked to aeronautics and space, due to their ability to serve as link between the agents involved in this industry, channel the supply and demand of R & D & I and facilitate the generation of synergies between companies, agents of innovation and administration.

In the first eight months of the year, the center has been awarded eight European projects financed by the H2020 program of the European Commission that represent revenues of 3.6 million euros for CATEC. Promoted by the Junta de Andalucía through FADA, this complex is currently running more than 60 projects with aerospace companies, developing very diverse technologies. It is the leader in Europe in the development of drones, and the largest private research center on unmanned aerial vehicles in Spain.

For its part, the Andalusian Foundation for Aerospace Development has 85 professionals, mostly engineers and technicians, and performs a fundamental task in the development of technologies that improve the competitiveness of aeronautical and space companies, as well as in the accompaniment to the industry and, especially, to the Andalusian SMEs of the aerospace sector in the development of new, more technological products, that allow them to incorporate more added value and, therefore, to be able to continue competing in a global market.

More than 600 companies have required the services of the Andalusian Foundation for Aerospace Development in recent years, relying on CATEC for the development of their technologies. The scope of this foundation is Industry 4.0, digitalization of aerospace processes, robotics and automation, virtual and augmented reality applied to aerospace manufacturing processes, being European leaders in unmanned aerial vehicles and 3D printing, a matter in which FADA has direct contracts with the European Space Agency and NASA, to cite specific examples. The foundation also manages the ATLAS center in Jaén, which is the largest private test center for civilian UAVs in Spain.