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Italian aerospace industry displays its excellence at Defexpo India 2008



Italian aerospace industry displays its excellence at Defexpo India 2008

The date is set for the 16th to the 19th February in New Delhi for the 2008 edition of Defexpo India ,the biggest fair in the Asian region for the aerospace industry, defence systems and for related technology. Italy will be present with an official delegation organised by the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), in association with the Italian trade association AAID.

The participation of Italian firms to Defexpo 2008 has a strategic value, as India is set to become one of the most interesting markets, among emerging countries, for aerospace and defence systems. The country, in fact will play an ever bigger role as a mediator in East-West relations. In the last year the New Delhi government has allocated 20 billion dollars, worth 2.4% of GDP, for the modernisation of internal security systems, transport vehicles, environmental monitoring and Army equipment. Defexpo’s statistics confirm that there has been a growing interest: last year the fair, which takes place every two years, attracted over 24,000 visitors and 422 exhibitors from 38 different countries. In 1999, when the event was launched, exhibitors were 197, less than half.

The Italia defence, aviation and aerospace industry, which employs 50,000 people and has an annual turnover of 10 billion euros (la test data supplied by AIAD) includes several prestigious or long-established brands such as Alenia Aeronautica, Alenia Spazio, Aermacchi, AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica, Piaggio Aero Industries. In particular, the aerospace sector is capable of reaching excellence in extremely specialised areas such ad satellite construction and space components.

Although size is an issue – about 50% of AIAD’s associates are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – and sometimes represents a disadvantage when competing with giant foreign competitors, Italian firms have often managed to stage coups in terms of prestige. Alenia Aeronautica (Finmeccanica Group), for example, last year won a large contract in the United States worth 7 billion dollar for the renewal of the cargo fleet of the US Army and Air Force with its C27C-Spartan tactical transport plane. Previously, in 2005, the Italian consortium AgustaWestland (Finmeccanica Group) was awarded a contract for over 1.6 billion dollars to supply 23 “Marine One” helicopters as transport for the President of the United States.

Italian firms in this sector are characteristically concentrated around a few industrial districts: for the aerospace sector the most important ones are in Piedmont, Campania, Apulia and Lazio regions. Recently, industries spread around different manufacturing areas have launched inter-regional cooperation initiatives: the objective is to create, in the future, an Italian National aerospace district. In the past year there have been some concrete moves in this direction: in October 2007 the Campania and Apulia regions, where some of the biggest players and a wealth of SME subcontractors are based, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create an Aviation and Aerospace District for the South of Italy (Mezzogiorno). Campania accounts by itself for a quarter of the aerospace industry in Italy, both in terms of turnover (2.5 billion euros), as well as employees (11,000, most of them graduates, technician and specialised workers with high degree of professionality). Apulia, on the other hand, employs the fourth largest number of employees in the sector.

Previously, in June 2007, Campania had signed a similar agreement with Piedmont, where another important aerospace districts is based. Together, the two regions account for a 33% share of the national turnover of the aerospace sector, equal to around 2.8 billion euros, are home to 500 firms and give work to 20,000 employees, representing 56% of the national total.

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