Portuguese innovation takes to the sky

The Portuguese aviation industry looks set to become a leading player in the aviation industry with the construction of a new plant, manufacturing facilities and equipment for producing and assembling plane parts.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

The project should attract some €69 million of investments and create high quality jobs, in turn providing a boost for the regional economy and local innovation.

Solid foundation for project launch

The company leading the project is part of the Embraer Group, which has about 17 000 employees and is one of the largest companies in the global aerospace industry, having already produced some 5 000 aircraft. Such experience and expertise provides the ideal launch pad for the Portuguese wing of its activities.

High-tech facilities boost innovation potential

The new plant will manufacture large parts for planes and assemble them in highly automated complex structures. Key features include manufacturing facilities, surface treatment processes, equipment for inspecting liquid penetrant and painting, and a hangar for assembling metal structures. Various pieces of machining equipment, numerical control machines, inspection machinery and systems, drilling and riveting robots and manual drilling machines will also be purchased.

The project is helping promote innovation through greater production of tradable goods and services, strengthening the position of Portuguese companies in international markets and providing incentives for large-scale structural investment in new areas with growth potential.

Training plays instrumental role

Despite all the high-tech equipment, the human factor cannot be underestimated. To train what will become the future workforce, qualified people will be selected and recruited. Some of the future operators will be trained ‘on the job’ on the premises of the employer. About 230 direct jobs and 690 indirect jobs will eventually be created, all contributing to generate the €171 million of sales forecast for the 2012 to 2017 period. Such figures reflect the significance of this project for the local aviation industry, economic growth and employment.


Draft date

02/09/2011