The Zaragoza Air Base has been the place chosen for the celebration of the 16th anniversary of the Aragon Aeronautical, Aerospace and Defense Cluster. The main actors and representatives of all sectors have met there, accompanied by relevant personalities from the political, business and military life of the community.
The day began with the reception of the attendees at the Air Base facilities, specifically in Hangar 5, where one of the A400M of the Air and Space Army of the 31st Wing is located, which turned 50 last April. During the inauguration, General Santiago Ibarreta wanted to highlight the great enthusiasm with which the Defense Sector faces the development of the new technologies and new applications that AERA offers: "The Spanish industry and specifically the Aragonese industry has shown signs of having sufficient capabilities to supply the needs of a highly technical organization such as the Air and Space Army, placing itself at the technological forefront of the sector." Next, Alejandro Ibrahim, president of AERA and General Director of Teruel Airport, has corroborated the good harmony that exists between the aeronautical, aerospace and defense sectors, and the achievements that are being achieved in these fields: "Thanks to the legacy and the work precursor carried out by the Air and Space Army since the beginning of aeronautics in Spain, it has been possible to develop the sector as we know it today.
In her speech, the manager of the Cluster, Inés Villa, highlighted the great evolution that AERA has had in the last year, almost doubling its number of members and achieving a high success rate in the last call for Aid to Innovative Business Groups of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism. She also wanted to point out: "The aeronautical, aerospace and defense sectors are growing sectors, multiplying their turnover by six in the last 25 years."
During this commemoration, the future prospects for these sectors were also reviewed in a round table moderated by the AITIIP Research Director, Berta Gonzalvo. The head of the Industrial Management area of SDG INREID, Víctor Roibó, participated; the director of the Space Technical Office for PERTE Aerospace, Héctor Guerrero; the director of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Spanish Space Agency, Isabel Pérez Grande; the representative of CDTI Dual and Aeronautical Projects, Miguel Ortíz; and the senior manager of Airbus Operations, Juan José Cela Flores, who highlighted "Decarbonization is the greatest challenge that aeronautics has faced in the last 50 years. Although new airplanes pollute around 30% less than previous generations, there is still a long way to go. Large companies can contribute to a greater extent to these objectives and are driving elements of the sector. However, the manufacturing of an airplane involves the entire supply chain, responsible for 50% of the process."
In this debate forum, they have also highlighted the different aid available to administrations (PERTE, Spanish Space Agency, CDTI...) to promote knowledge and technological transfer between industry and research centers. SAFs, rocket development, public awareness, stratoports and HAPS have been the main areas on which experts have focused and on which the focus of attention needs to be placed for the coming years.
To conclude the event, AERA wanted to recognize the work of several leading institutions in the sectors. The Air and Space Army has been recognized for its defense and promotion of aeronautical culture, a recognition granted by Doña Lorena Orduna, Mayor of Huesca, and Diego Alierta, Vice President of AERA. Likewise, AERA wanted to reward the company Aerometallic Tarazona with the recognition of Aeronautical Technology, an award given by Mr. Miguel Ángel Ania, General Director of Transport of the Government of Aragon, and Mr. Miguel Ángel García Muro, Delegate Councilor for Mobility of the Zaragoza City Council. On the other hand, the opportunity to honor PLD Space for its Aerospace Development Work has not been missed, a recognition granted by Alejandro Ibrahim, President of AERA, and Doña Emma Buj, Mayor of Teruel. Finally, we wanted to highlight the work in Aeronautical Sustainability of AIRBUS, which has received recognition from Doña Mar Vaquero, Second Vice President and Minister of Economy, Employment and Industry of the Government of Aragon.
The event commemorating the 16th anniversary was closed by the Vice President herself, who publicly recognized the work of all the representatives of the aeronautical, aerospace and defense sectors. She has praised them because her work "has been able to fully exploit all the potential that the sky of our community has."
Afterwards, attendees were able to enjoy an exhibition of static material from the Air Base itself, which includes combat and military logistics aircraft.