Various companies in the Andalusian aeronautical sector established important links with their European and Asian counterparts during the farnborough Air Show held in July, signing agreements in pursuit of their strategy of international development. As a consequence, Elimco, Alestis, SMA and Sevilla Control will cooperate with German and Chinese companies in the creation of joint ventures to exploit synergies and secure new business opportunities in the international aeronautical industry.

 

The companies of the Andalusian aeronautical sector have made a further step towards cementing their position in the world aeronautical industry after forging new strategic international alliances at the latest edition of the Farnborough International Air Show, held last July in the locality of the same name in Hampshire (United Kingdom). Farnborough is one of the world's most important aeronautical and aerospace events together with Le Bourget and ILA Berlin.

At its latest edition, the companies Alestis, Elimco, Sevilla Control and Sistemas Mecanizados Avanzados (SMA) signed various collaboration agreements with other European and Asian firms, a reflection of their commitment to international expansion and the development of synergies with other companies to increase competitiveness and secure new contracts with the leading manufacturers. The intentions of the Andalusian aeronautical cluster at Farnborough were clear: the establishment of business contacts with suppliers in the region to reach agreements and develop collaboration strategies to enable the international development of these Andalusian companies. As is evident from the results obtained, the British event proved highly productive in this sense. First of all, the company Alestis Aerospace signed a contract with Chinese company Harbin Hafei Airbus Composite Manufacturing Centre for the work package of various parts of the belly fairing for the A350. Under the agreement, signed by the CEO of Alestis, Gaizka Grajales, and the Chairman of Harbin, Liu Guanglin, the Asian firm will be the sole supplier of these parts to Alestis, and it will also make this company the largest Chinese supplier for the A350 airliner.

This agreement was already contemplated in the contract between Airbus and Alestis for the work packages relating to the A350 programme, 5% of which will now be performed in China, a country which is set to become one of the major forces in the sector in the coming years. The parts manufactured by this joint venture of Airbus in China will be shipped to Spain to complete the belly fairing, and production is expected to start in 2012. Sistemas Mecánicos Avanzados (SMA), another Andalusian company with its headquarters in Madrid and offices in Cádiz, also reached a complete agreement with the company AVIC HAIG to establish a joint venture for the design and production of advanced tooling, instruments and equipment in Harbin, China.

This new subsidiary will be dedicated to research and development, design, manufacture, repairs and marketing of tools and equipment for aerospace applications and the automobile industry, including advanced InVAR tooling, which is used extensively for composites manufacture. Representatives of the companies stated that the signing of this agreement will lay the foundations for industrial cooperation in the field of aerospace and tools for the automobile industry. This alliance will be highly beneficial for SMA, given that its capacity to manufacture specialised tooling and composites for the aerospace industry will be complemented by the technology developed by AVIC HAIG in the field of structural components and manufacturing, testing methods and flight tests for helicopters and aviation in general.

Agreements with European companies

One of the major companies in the Andalusian industry, Elimco, established new commercial relations at Farnborough following the signing of an agreement with the German group Prettl to establish a new subsidiary in the city of Querétaro (Mexico) which is destined to be a world leader in the field of aeronautical wiring harness manufacture. This agreement, signed by the CEO of Elimco, nicolás Jiménez, and Rolf Prettl, CEO of Prettl, seeks to exploit the synergies of the two companies to reduce costs and increase market competitiveness. The joint venture will draw on all Elimco’s knowledge and experience in the aeronautical sector, particularly in the field of aerospace wiring harnesses and other services for aerospace programmes. Prettl, on the other hand, will offer its local experience of management and operation in Mexico (the company has three subsidiaries operating for more than 15 years in Querétaro), its international presence and logistics and its financial stability.

The choice of Querétaro as the headquarters for this strategic alliance is a reflection of the confidence both companies have in Mexico’s economic growth and the general boom of the aeronautical industry in this city. nonetheless, the objective is to develop in other countries such as Brazil, the USA, India, Russia and China, using the pre-existing facilities of this German company. Finally, the company group Sevilla Control also signed an agreement with the aeronautical engineering firm Voith based in Bremen, under which it joins various other Andalusian companies such as Sofitec, Inespasa and Airgroup as parties to the collaboration agreement which this German company signed at ILA Berlin last June. The aim of this agreement is to complement Voith’s capacities with those of companies in the Andalusian sector specialising in the most of the fabrication technologies, offering production with very competitive costs. In the case of Sevilla Control, this Andalusian group will offer its production capacity to support the Airbus work packages which the German firm is working on.

Greater Andalusian participation

Andalusia was the only official Spanish delegation from the sector at this 61st edition of the Farnborough International Air Show. A total of eight aeronautical companies attended the event through the Regional Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Science, the Andalusian Agency for Overseas Promotion (Extenda) and the Hélice Foundation, an increase from the previous year when only six firms participated.

The companies present this year were Aerosertec, Alestis, Sofitec, Ghenova Ingeniería, Tada, and UMI Aeronáutica, in addition to the Andalusian Agency for Innovation and Development (IDEA), the Andalusian Aerospace Technology Park (Aeropolis) and the Hélice Foundation.

Andalusia had its own stand at the fair managed by Extenda, enabling the aeronautical cluster to carry out actions to promote the local industry and explore opportunities for collaboration on projects with other international firms. These opportunities also caught the attention of various media representatives present at the event, in particular the publications Fly news and Avion Revue, both of which ran articles on the Andalusian aeronautical sector. Highlights among the activities organised by the Hélice Foundation and Extenda included the different meetings held with other European clusters, such as the meeting between the Director of the Hélice Foundation, Manuel Cruz, and the Chief Executive of the West of England Aerospace Forum, Mr. Barry Warburton, who expressed his interest in the growth model of the Andalusian sector, its relationship with major manufacturers and the process of creating Alestis. Andalusian companies also met with other clusters at the stand of SouthWest Aerospace, an English association which forms part of the Enterprise Europe network, along with informative sessions with representatives of the Farnborough and Aerospace Wales clusters which discussed the initiatives of the EACP (European Aerospace Cluster Partnership) regarding the training needs of engineers and good management practices. Interesting contacts were also made with the Quebec Aerospace Association and the Aero Montreal cluster, both of which are located in Canada. In the case of the Quebec aeronautical cluster its President, Jaques Saada, indicated his interest in possible collaboration with Andalusian companies. The project director of Aero Montreal, Mr. Martin Lafleur, also had a productive meeting with the Director of the Hélice Foundation and Extenda, Aerópolis and Agency IDEA representatives, and an agreement was reached for a Canadian trade mission to visit Seville at the end of this year. This north American country is one of the priority objectives for the Andalusian cluster in 2011. An interview was also held with the Deputy Secretary of Economic Development of the Municipality of Querétaro (México), Marcelo López, who was very interested in sending a trade mission with different Mexican authorities to Andalusia with the aim of securing investments by Andalusian firms for the development of new projects by the Querétaro aeronautical cluster.

Important sales for the industry

Farnborough 2010 was very successful in terms of the sales by the leading manufacturers in the international sector, Boeing and EADS. This points towards a certain reactivation of the aeronautical industry and fuels hopes that the coming year will see the definitive recovery of the turnover of these companies and the number of orders by airlines. aircraft worth over 21.5 billion euros (around US$28 billion), of which 133 were definitive orders and 122 were commitments. Highlights among these orders include 60 A320 aircraft for Gecas and another 51 for the Air Lease Corporation, along with the contracts for 40 A320s and 10 A321s for LAn and 40 A320s for Virgin America. Meanwhile, Boeing totalled orders for 249 aircraft from 12 different airlines valued at around US$27 billion (20.2 billion euros). These included the purchase of 60 737-700s by Air Lease Corporation, 60 777 ERs ordered by Emirates Airlines and 40 737-800s by Gecas. Farnborough was also a significant success for the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, which obtained contracts worth $7.9 billion, and the Canadian group Bombardier, with important agreements being reached with Qatar Airways and Vista Jet. The crisis was also not apparent from the numbers attending the Air Show, which had Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner and the A400M by Airbus Military as the star attractions. Farnborough was attended by more than 1,400 companies from 40 countries in the commercial, civil and military aerospace sectors, with 30 national and international pavilions and the participation of a total of 70 delegations from 44 different countries. In addition, more than 800 meetings were held involving over 150 suppliers during the Meet the Buyer event, one of the highlights at Farnborough. The 105,000 m² site received visits from 228,000 people during the seven days of the show, which means things look promising for the next edition in 2012.

Visits by of ficial delegations to the Andalusian stand at Farnborough

  • The Mexican delegation from PROMEXICO and FEMIA and representatives of the states of Tamaulipas and Chihuahua, who expressed their interest in various Andalusian aeronautical activities and professional training initiatives and the attraction of Spanish investments
  • Visit to the Andalusian stand by the Economic and Trade Councillor of the Spanish Embassy in London, José Antonio Zamora, and the Director of Extenda’s UK Operations, Belén Amat-Martín.
  •  The official delegation of the Spanish Air Force, headed by General Rubén García of the Planning Division, who expressed his interest in Andalusian companies and activities in the field of UAVs and the ATLAS project
  • Visit by the Director of the Defence Division of Indra, Carlos Suárez, and the Director of the International Division of the company.
  • Visit by Manuel Hita, former Managing Director of Airbus Spain, and Antonio Lozano, former Head of Subcontracting for Airbus Spain, who expressed their interest in the company Sofitec and its expansion and marketing plans
  • Visit by José Antonio Veroz, Managing Director of Harbin Hafei, who encouraged expansion by Andalusian companies on the Chinese market.
  • Farnborough closed with multimillion dollar sales for the two leading world manufacturers, with Airbus securing orders for a total of 255