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Aerospace industry: the next challenges and the opportunities for synergy between Italy and Canada

Aerospace industry: the next challenges and the opportunities for synergy between Italy and Canada
Photo by: Delegazione del Québec a Roma

The Québec aerospace mission in Italy ends in Rome and important opportunities emerge from the comparison between the Italian aerospace industrial system and that of the Canadian province of Québec


*Ing. Marco Rosati

There is enough to be optimistic. The outlooks and the forecasts prepared both by the international institutions (ICAO in particular) and by the primary players in the sector (AIRBUS and Boeing) provide an encouraging framework for the medium to long-term development of the aeronautical industry.

It is once again confirmed that this segment, which has an economic impact of about 3.5% on world GDP, possesses the resilient system characteristic, having demonstrated over the years excellent ability to withstand external shocks: from the Gulf crisis to the disaster of the Twin Towers, from the collapse of the Asian economies to the financial crisis triggered by subprime mortgages, every time the system has shown that its fundamentals go beyond the economic drivers that govern the GDP of a country or a region.

The numbers are already important - just for the air transport sector the volume is around 2.7 trillion USD and 62.7 Million jobs - but destined to an exponential growth: the analyzes, in fact, converge on the fact that, in the twenty years 2015-2035, more than 30,000 deliveries of new airplanes for passenger and cargo transport are planned, with a forecast of doubling the number of passengers transported.

This is the context in which it can be included the opportunity for a desirable collaboration between Italy and Canada, as emerged during the seminar, last December 1 organized at the Embassy of Canada, by the Delegation of Québec in Rome, in collaboration with Export Quèbec and Lazio Innova in Rome, during which the Québec aerospace mission met with a representative of the Lazio Region aerospace industry.

From its authoritative point of view, the Quebec aerospace district Aéro Montréal, has identified on which topics will be played the most significant challenges in the coming years:

  1. the transformation of the supply chain, through a growing process of internationalization, with the increase of mergers and acquisitions but also of collaborations;
  2. the further acceleration towards the automation and adoption of digital technologies;
  3. the reduction of the environmental impact and the recycling of aircraft at the end of their operational life

In a context of globalized global markets that sees the global aerospace supply chain change rapidly, the prime contractors are reducing the number of their suppliers, preferring to work with a few intermediate companies that offer integrated solutions, to which remains the burden of managing numerous subcontractors.

The transformation of the global supply chain favors the emergence of subjects that have above all the characteristic of "integrators", with responsibility for the design, manufacture and assembly of complete systems.

In the dynamics of the world market, however, the effects of the government actions of competitive countries are beginning to be felt, which systemically put aggressive strategies and generous initiatives in support of their industries, those of emerging countries that, by exploiting favorable policies to keep down labor costs, they offer low-cost supply chain products for manufacturers.  

In this new competitive environment, companies will have to adapt and innovate constantly to provide an integrated supply chain that is more flexible and in line with the expectations of the main contractors. Suppliers will be required to improve their operational practices, increase their innovation capacity, promote partnerships and share the financial risks of the project if necessary.

Therefore it will no longer be sufficient to have an excellent finished product, functional, reliable, easily serviceable, installable, usable and manufactured at low cost, but it will also be necessary to respond in a documented manner to international design and production standards.

The challenges posed by this transformation can be significant for our industry: if it can seize the opportunity to exploit its strong points compared to its consolidated or emerging competitors, the new framework could be favorable for the entire economic system.

In particular, in order to remain competitive in the context of new international challenges, SMEs will have to move ahead to review the objectives related to their operational capacity, but above all to organize themselves to reach the critical size required by the main manufacturers.

The other challenges mentioned by Aéro Montréal on digital technology and sustainability are no less important. In global competition, some countries may be advantaged, as they have no superstructures to convert; however, even in these contexts, the key to win can not be anything other than the ability to adapt quickly to new market needs, valuing as far as possible its strong points.


* Aviation & Aerospace

Centro Studi Italia-Canada