AED Cluster Portugal proposes measures to the Government

11 May 2020

In the context of the global pandemic, AED Cluster Portugal prepared a synthesis document with mitigation measures for the Aeronautics, Space and Defense sectors, which was handed over to the Government.

Given current context, AED Cluster Portugal delivered a Position Paper to Ministries and Government Agencies, with a set of recommendations to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Aeronautics, Space and Defense sectors.

For the elaboration of this document, several contributions from the Cluster associates were received and debated, reinforcing the collaboration ties between the members and, thus, obtaining a representative position of the Portuguese ecosystem.

The document, entitled Position of the Aeronautics, Space and Defense Cluster in the Context of COVID-19, has already been delivered to Government members with the tutelage of Economy, Defense, Internal Administration, Education, Science and Technology and Infrastructure, as well as to several public departments.

“The COVID-19 outbreak hit all ASD sectors, being the Civil Aeronautics the most  affected, as it caused cuts in orders, supply problems, stops in production and cash flow problems. With regard to the Defence and Space industries, these are mainly directed to the public sector, so they still do not face the same impacts as the Aeronautics industry, however, the indirect impact will soon be felt. For these reasons, AEDCP has decided to act and assess what can be done to lessen the implications of this new crisis”, explains José Neves, Board President of AED Cluster Portugal.

In Portugal, the three sectors already represent an aggregate turnover of more than 1.7 billion euros, with export values of around 90%, supporting more than 18,500 human resources. In this sense, AED defends a consolidated National strategy to mitigate the economic impact of this crisis and reinforce the mentioned sectors, giving rise to a set of measures that the AED Cluster considers relevant.

We present some of these recommendations:

Cross-Sectorial Measures

  • Approval of a specific online training and qualification package for professionals in the sector, particularly online, with the objective of maintaining existing qualifications and certifications, as well as taking advantage of the reduction in activity to increase and diversify skills;
  • Definition of measures to support part-time work in the sector (such as the creation of hour banks) to avoid the exclusion of current professionals in the sector;
  • Promotion of measures for Research and Technological Development (R&D&T) projects, including the aspects of Productive and Organizational Innovation, focused on the current and post-COVID19 context, at national level to enable sectors to meet new challenges, and to leverage new opportunities. It is necessary to revise the sector’s strategic plans and redefine the themes of societal challenges, such as digital transformation and the impact on civil society.

Aeronautics Sector

  • Development of an action plan, detailed and integrated into the Government’s Economic Diplomacy work, between the Cluster, Ministries and National Agencies that responds to the opportunities generated by changes in international supply chains:
    1) Relocation of operations and supplies from Asia, North Africa and America back to Europe, reinforcing redundancies at critical points in these chains, minimizing the supply risks exposed by the crisis and mitigating the future European economic downturn;
    2) The need to restructure the production cost and volume models according to the new reality of civil aviation;
  • Portugal’s participation in the future CleanSky3 (Clean Aviation), through greater involvement of national stakeholders in the high-level structure, streamlining national financing for this purpose.

Space Sector

  • Ensure the integrity of national funding for the mandatory and optional programs of the European Space Agency, committed at the last Ministerial Council meeting in 2019;
  • Guarantee the continuation and dynamization of the complementary initiatives foreseen in the Space 2030 Strategy, such as the construction of the Azores SpacePort;
  • Accelerate processes of public procurement of services, and projects for the introduction of space technology in public administration, through the launch of public tenders.

Defence Sector

  • Ensure that the investments defined in the Military Programming Law (LPM) are maintained and accelerated as much as possible, with a firm commitment by the Ministry of National Defense and the branches of the Armed Forces in a more significant incorporation of national added value, always guaranteeing, when and where possible, the participation of Portuguese companies throughout the development cycle of new systems and equipment;
  • Institutional and diplomatic commitment to maintaining the budget and launch date of the European Defense Fund (EDF), as well as ensuring future national participation in major European forces reshaping projects, promoting employment and competitiveness for our companies

AED Cluster Portugal reinforces, therefore, all its availability and solidarity to collaborate with government entities, in order to enhance the quick return to the possible normality.

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