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Future challenges and industrial change facing the EU Aerospace Sector (own-initiative opinion)

EESC opinion: Future challenges and industrial change facing the EU Aerospace Sector (own-initiative opinion)

The aeronautical industry is one of the EU's key high-tech sectors in the global market. The industry directly employs 500 000 people in high quality jobs (1 million adding indirect jobs) and consists of an ecosystem of large and small companies covering the entire spectrum of aeronautics. (Source: ASD Facts and Figures)

The EU aeronautical industry is a technological leader in its field and currently has a market share of about one third of the global market. The industry provides a positive contribution to the EU trade balance (EUR 46 billion in EU exports). (Source: ASD Facts and Figures)

The strength and global leadership of the EU aeronautical industry is the result of robust strategies and productive activities.

This leadership should not be taken for granted since the industry faces many challenges:

  1. The fierce competition from established and emerging players who receive substantial backing from their respective governments;
  2. The shift in economic growth and power towards the East, which is both an opportunity and a threat;
  3. The near-term operational challenges such as Brexit, EU budgetary constraints and protectionist measures in third countries;
  4. The need for the EU aeronautical industry to maintain its technological leadership, especially in lowering the environmental impact of emissions;
  5. The lack of a coherent EU industrial policy;
  6. The need for a coherent EU strategy on Foreign Direct Investment Screening;
  7. The need for an increased international presence for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA);
  8. The necessity of boosting the competitiveness of the EU MRO sector;
  9. The importance of ensuring that a future workforce has the specialist skills needed for the sector, especially in the field of digitalisation.