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Aug 18, 2008

New aerospace centre to support local manufacturing industry

© Reuse this The Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) will be opened on Tuesday ushering in a new era in aero-structure engineering and manufacturing for South Africa.

"The CAV was formally established in 2006, in response to the urgent need for the creation of an aerospace supplier park, to support South Africa's innovative manufacturing processes.

"This supplier park is not only modelled on the successes of the local automotive industry, but also mirrors similar international parks, such as the Silicone Valley in California, and Toulouse in France," said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa will be at the CAV for the ceremonial sod-turning to mark the launch of the CAV Industrial Park Development.

The CAV would give small companies the opportunity to be in close proximity to larger local suppliers such as Denel and Aerosud, and would help with the creation of a lean aero-structure supply chain, focused on manufacturing.

"Not only will the project lead to increased job creation, but would also serve to accelerate the integration of small companies in the industry.

"The objectives of the CAV include the development, construction and full operation of an aerospace supplier park; the upliftment of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and for the repositioning of the aviation sector," said the department.

The DTI said the CAV development was financed with the help of the European Union and government, through the Sector-Wide Support Enterprise, Employment and Equity Programme.

The CAV was registered as a Section 21 company, and would be jointly managed by the DTI, at a board and operational level.

"The CAV has been designed to unlock the growth potential of the local aerospace and aviation industries, where local original equipment manufacturers; suppliers of components, parts and tools; as well as service providers; stand to benefit equally from synergistic and economy of scale applications.

"The CAV concept was not, however, limited to manufacturing, but also offers opportunities in service-related activities, including logistics, training and technology centres, shared services, and co-ordinated education," highlighted the department.

Speaking at the Innovation Hub last year, Mpahlwa said various government departments had been working since 2000 to better position South Africa for developments in the industry.

"In deciding whether to support the aerospace sector we were also acutely aware that technology and knowledge are crucial factors of production in modern advanced economies, and those new technological developments can create platforms for further innovations," said the minister.

Mpahlwa said when he opened the Africa Aerospace and Defence Trade Show and Exhibition in 2004, he had affirmed government's commitment to progress in the industry.

"At the time, based on discussions between government and leading defence and aerospace companies, I committed to the implementation of support programmes to this industry.

"Together we recognised the industry's important contribution to economic growth, broadening participation and job creation, generation of high value export revenue streams, provision of technological leadership and the capacity to demonstrate our ability to compete internationally," he said. - BuaNews

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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