Competitive and Sustainable Growth
New perspectives for aeronautics
Implications for society
Air traffic is set to triple by the year 2010. Aeronautics has not only become a relatively economical means of transport, it is also an increasingly important source of economic activity and jobs - both in industry (15000 to 20000 new, high-tonnage commercial aircraft will be built in the world over the next 20 years) and in the creation of services which in turn generate many more jobs.
But this growth also brings with it some serious challenges: ensuring the safety and fluidity of the growing air traffic and limiting the resultant environmental pollution.
Implications for the economy
European companies currently have a 33% share of the world's civil aviation market - thanks in particular to the success of Airbus - and EU exports in the aeronautics sector amount to 13 billion euros a year. These impressive figures are attributable to the activity of around 40 large companies and a large network of SMEs.
More than 7000 European aeronautic construction companies employ 350000 highly skilled workers, and indirectly generate employment for four times that number. Allocating 20% of its turnover to research, the aeronautics industry is also a major source of technological innovations in new materials, information technology, advanced mechanics, and environmental technologies, with benefits for the rest of industry.
Implications for Europe
It is this clear commitment to cooperation which has enabled the European aeronautics industry to win its share of the world market. But will it be able to defend its position over the next 20 years - the time it takes a new generation of aircraft to make its mark? This will depend on the ability of Europe's private and public sectors to sustain a joint and long-term R&D effort.
Targeted fields of research