HEGAN - Basque Aerospace Cluster continues to grow


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25.08.2017 10:00 Age: 112 days

HEGAN - Basque Aerospace Cluster continues to grow

By: Carl-Friedrich Flothmann

The HEGAN Aeronautics and Space Cluster member companies increased their turnover by 16% and employment by 9.4% in 2016

In 2016, the member companies of HEGAN, the Aeronautics and Space Cluster Association of the Basque Country, have grown once again, with their production centres across the globe recording a turnover of 2.247 billion euros, a growth of 16% on the previous year, coupled with a 9.4% increase in the workforce, bringing the total to 13,612 jobs.

There has been growth in practically all the member companies, although the absolute value remains an effect of the growth of the main industries and is not due to the significant increase in the number of members. Likewise, exports increased to 1.366 billion euros, up 11.4% in relation to 2015.

The level of R&D&I investment in this industry remains considerable at 150 million euros, with the sector pressing forward with its commitment to competitiveness and innovation in order to become stronger in the future.

Development of HEGAN’s members

As mentioned, in 2016 the total turnover of HEGAN’s members increased by  16% on the previous year for their 161 production centres around the world. With regard to subsectors, Aerostructures generated 55% of sales, Engines 38%, Systems and Equipment 4% and Space 3%.

Exports amounted to 1.366 billion euros. The United Kingdom was the top destination for Basque aerospace exports with sales of 369 million euros, followed by France (232 million) owing to a significant spike in sales, Germany (205 million), USA (150 million) and Brazil (110 million).

Investment in R&D&I stood at 150 million euros, which represents an investment of 6.7% of the turnover for the year. The stability of the R&D&I investments aims to secure a return in the medium term that preserves the competitiveness of the HEGAN Cluster members. Thus, at a time where new aeronautical programmes are scarce, R&D efforts are focused on projects linked to improving the manufacturing processes, with the aim of addressing the expected increases in delivery cadence and clients´ competitiveness requirements, which are key in adapting our companies to “Industry 4.0”.

Together, the HEGAN member companies took part in 211 R&D&I projects last year (in regional, state and European invitations to tender). In this respect, the involvement of 12 HEGAN member companies in Clean Sky, nine of which as Core Partners, highlights the significant commitment of the Cluster members in this European programme.

In this context, the Basque aerospace industry is healthy, but it needs to prepare for the future in order to maintain competitiveness and guarantee the long-term position of the companies in the market. “The key challenge for this year and future years is the significant planned ramp-up of production, which requires improved efficiency focused on increasing capacity in order to develop our competitiveness”. “Other challenges include the constant evolution of the sector´s technological requirements, the increasing pressure on the costs of suppliers as a way of reducing the prices of the aircraft offered and the increasing competition from new countries that are breaking into the sector and which are backed by the purchasing power of their governments and companies
(China, India, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, etc.).


The HEGAN Cluster Association comprises 63 entities: Aernnova, ITP and SENER as founding members; the companies and corporate groups Aciturri, Aeromec, Aerospace Engineering Group, Aibe, Alestis, Alfa Precision Casting, Altran, Aratz, Astorkia, Ayesa Air Control, Ayzar, Batz Aerospace, Bost, Burdinberri, Danobat Group, DMP, Doilan, DTK, DY.A, Ekin, Electrohilo, EYHER, Grupo TTT, Hauck Heat Treatment, Imedusa, Industrias Galindo, Khegal, Kimua Group, Korta Group, LTK Grupo, Matrici, Mesima, Metalúrgica Marina, Met-Meka, Metraltec, Microlan, Mizar, Nivac, Novalti, Nuter, Ona Electroerosión, Orbital Critical System, Renishaw Ibérica, Sariki, Siegel, Sikulan, Sisteplant, TAES, Tecnasa, TM Tellería, WEC, Wolko Group and Xubi; as well as the technological organisations CTA, IK4 and Tecnalia; and the universities of Deusto, Mondragón, the Basque Country and Tecnun.