January 2018 - Aeronautics is a global business based on excellence, technology and high-level skills. With 160 Bn€ of revenues, over 550 000 direct employees1 and indirectly more than 1.5 million jobs, the European Aeronautics’ industry is a key contributor to European economic performance and competitiveness. This is the result of high levels of public-private investments in Research and Technology (R&T) made over the last decades by Member States and the European Union, together with industry.
Over the past 40 years, Europe has progressively become a world leader in civil aircraft manufacturing. However, the competitive technology and business landscape for air transport is changing rapidly and the European aviation ecosystem has to adapt swiftly and smartly to major game changers. These include the new environmental requirements agreed under COP21, the rising demand for all air transport, the reform of Air Traffic Management, the unprecedented level of public support in the US to its domestic Aeronautics industry, the emergence of new competitors such as China, and the technology challenges driven by digitalisation and electrification.
Europe’s Aeronautics industry is thus facing today probably one of its most challenging technological periods. Despite this increasingly demanding environment, Europe must remain a centre of excellence in Aeronautics for the great benefit of its citizens (job provider, environment protection, safe, secure and convenient mobility for all) and in the interest of Europe’s strategic autonomy. The Aeronautics industry must continue to pioneer. Even if the private sector invests massively in the development of new aircraft, public grants and public-private partnerships are key to foster innovation for sustainable transport.
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