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ALENIA AERMACCHI, THE CUTTING EDGE OF ITALIAN-MADE AERONAUTICS
7,000 aircraft produced, 2,000 qualified professionals working in teams and credibility on the world market that has been consolidated over the years through intelligence and commitment. These are the added values of Alenia Aermacchi, the cutting edge of Italian aeronautics. We put a few questions to its managing director, Carmelo Cosentino.
Aermacchi and tradition: how did you grow so large?
Since 1913, Aermacchi has been building aircraft that have written the history of Italian aviation, setting records that still stand and using the very best of available technology. Today it is a firmly established reality in Italy but is also well-known throughout the world.
What are the sectors to invest in to overcome the challenge of other international competitors?
Alenia Aermacchi is one of the few companies in the world capable of managing the entire product life cycle: from engine requirements to customer assistance.
Our core business is military training, on which we are counting for the production of a full range of aircraft for the pilot training programme: from the screening phase to the advanced and pre-operative stages. 54% of company turnover comes from this sector.
How much has investment in innovative products such as the M-346 flight trainers paid off and what new products for release on the market will represent Aermacchi in the future?
The M-346 Master in known for its outstanding performance and flight quality. It is a product that will remain on the market for over 30 years, with updates and improvements.
It is estimated that over the next 25-30 years there will be requests for more than 2,000 advanced training aircraft, of which we intend to gain a 30% share.
Has being part a group like Finmeccanica helped in some particularly important foreign markets, such as, for example, the USA?
The aeronautic market has changed enormously from when an essentially national reality, such as Macchi, was only able to sell around the world thanks to a good product and aggressive marketing by company executives. There is no longer room for those who are anything less than excellent in their own field.
In 2003 Aermacchi became part of Finmeccanica and this enabled it to present itself with better credentials on foreign markets.
Finmeccanica’s recent experience with the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the C-27J tactical transport aircraft has been a helpful preparation for the M-346 campaign in the USA, which has already got under way with the “Request for Information” from the American Air Force.
Which countries are you focussing your attention on for the future?
Interesting prospects are developing, with the United Arab Emirates request for 48 aircraft and the campaigns in progress in Singapore, Greece, Poland, Austria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Then there is the Advanced European Jet Pilot Training programme, which will involve the air forces of nine European countries.