ASD wants further investment in aerospaceASD urges Europe to continue aeerospace investments
ASD, the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe had decided to give a “nuanced assessment” of the impact of the current crisis on its activities, instead of adding “[its] voice to the chorus of doomsayers”.
Speaking at a press conference organised on the occasion of ASD’s Board and Council meetings, Allan Cook, President of ASD and CEO of Cobham, emphasized that “our sector is not asking for any government bail-out. That does not mean that we should be ignored, or that our success should be taken for granted. We do need EU institutions and national governments across Europe to increase investment in our industry, and in particular to increase their level of financial support for research and development activities. Market driven R&D is vital for us to be able to prepare the next generation of European aircraft and support our defence industry”, he insisted.
Such a plea comes at a time when the ‘Clean Sky’ research programme, aimed at paving the way for the introduction of new, radically cleaner aircraft, is mired in administrative difficulties. “One of the largest ever EU research programmes, Clean Sky was designed to be an inspiring and important Public Private Partnership to reinforce the competitiveness of our sector in line with the Lisbon Strategy. But it is still struggling to get off the ground”, Tom Enders deplored. “Severe constraints are imposed by internal Commission regulations which are ill-adapted to this type of partnership and have continually delayed the effective start of the programme. I see the clear and present danger that the Programme will fail to produce the needed results on time, and that industry will very soon be obliged to redirect its funds towards other national or company technology initiatives’, Mr Enders said. ‘Action has to be taken by the Commission now if Clean Sky is to be given a chance to deliver on its grand promises”, he concluded.
During the press conference, Allan Cook and Tom Enders also encouraged public authorities to provide financial support to the industry’s customers, in particular through the implementation of funding schemes aimed at facilitating airlines’ access to liquidity for the purchasing of new aircraft. They also urged them to pay particular attention to the situation of the industry’s supply chain, where small and medium sized companies struggle to adjust to worsening economic conditions and need easier access to liquidity. In that context “a loan programme for aerospace SME’s would be particularly welcome”, Mr Cook declared.