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THE LOMBARDY AEROSPACE SECTOR AIMS TO GROW THROUGH EXPORTS
It consists of two hundred and fifteen industrial companies, with 15,500 employees, a turnover of €4.5 billion, and exports worth €1.9 billion. It also boasts two research centres and four affiliated universities working in the sector.
These are the figures for the Lombardy aerospace district, a highly professional entity with a very important and distinguished past. The cluster has not been dramatically affected by the economic crisis. Indeed, as the president, Carmelo Cosentino, explained: "in the first half of this year, there was a slight decrease of 4%, but the forecast is for a recovery by the end of the year."
However, the district also holds a trump card: one that will probably allow it to do even better in terms of performance. This relates to the significant degree of interaction between large companies, which make up 12% of the total, and the medium and small concerns, which represent the main part of the cluster (up to 88%). These different enterprises have evolved a system of reciprocal support, creating an alignment between their various development activities.
This constitutes one of the main keys to the success of the Lombardy aerospace district: a cluster which, of course, also offers a winning combination of products, quality and skills, allowing it to produce anything from a complete airplane to a complete spacecraft. The larger companies in the district have set up various focus groups, which act as a driving force for the SMEs, showing them how, and in which direction, to grow. This system also represents an advantage for the larger concerns, which are able to make use of a range of innovative products and services. President Carmelo Cosentino initiated the focus groups at the beginning of his term, about a year ago, and they are already producing important results; especially when one considers that they are being grafted onto well-established industrial structures.
With regard to exports, the target markets for big companies like Selex, Augusta, and Alenia Aermacchi, and the small and medium enterprises, are of course very different. Carmelo Cosentino outlined the situation: "Large companies look to markets able to purchase complete systems. In this context, the reference markets are, for example, the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Then there are countries like Singapore, which are really very important. For the SMEs, on the other hand, their research efforts are mainly focused on an efficient supply chain. In this regard, I am thinking of countries such as Russia, Israel and Poland."