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3. Europe - A Special Region

Europe - Facing world-wide competition with huge advantages in talent, experience and products.








. but fragmented in terms of culture, language and procedures.


In this changing scene Europe has a unique mix of opportunities and challenges in the field of aeronautics. We have demonstrated unmatched skills in creating world class teams within the diversity of our cultures, We have established benchmarks for international collaboration in complex projects. We have a huge base of talent and of cultural variety. But Europe also faces a world of fierce competition, where the stakes are enormous, where to lose means to lose entire businesses and to lose their European presence.

The United States

  • 87% of the world's airliners are American built.
  • Public funding for aerospace in the US (for 1997) was three times that of the EU and all its member states combined.
  • Both in turnover and number of employees the size of the aerospace industry of the USA is more than twice that of the EU combined.
  • The share of the aerospace sector in US exports is almost twice that in the EU.

Many Europeans enjoy a high standard of living and want this to be further enhanced with improvements to their quality of life including a better environment.

Europe enjoys the services of rapidly growing air traffic into and within its regions. However, its citizens experience daily the challenge of managing that rate of increase - noise, congestion, and delay are commonplace. We have several large concentrations of population with already high densities of air traffic - nearly every proposal to increase airport capacity meets fierce environmental resistance. Europe presents a number of specific political , industrial and organisational features which have to be considered.

The enlargement of the EU will increase both the opportunities and the challenges. Our cultural heritage gives us the benefits of diversity but also the challenges of language, of differing standards, and of fragmented institutions.

In this competitive world of aeronautics two economic regions are dominant - Europe and the USA. Our greatest competitor, and largest export market, now addresses the market with a federated system, a unified domestic market, with a set of strategic national objectives, and with the huge resources and capabilities of both its industry and its government laboratories including NASA, the foremost aerospace R&D agency in the world.

In contrast Europe retains the legacy of its nation states, works with many national stakeholders and has yet to develop common objectives. As an example of its air transport operations, Europe works under the burden of 49 national Air Traffic Control Centres using 22 different operating systems.

However, Europe can overcome these difficulties of fragmentation when it wishes to do so. Industrial restructuring is now proceeding rapidly in Europe, bringing the numerous players in the different fields to a new stage of concentration. However, the research system across the Union is lagging behind this momentum.

Doing better in Europe is a necessity not an option.

Doing better
in Europe means working
together better.

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