European plane maker Airbus Military, part of the Airbus group, announced on Friday that it had awarded South African aerospace company Aerosud major component contracts for the A400M airlifter for the whole of the programme. Aerosud designed and manufactures the fuselage linings, cockpit linings, galleys and wing tips of the A400M. Now, it will do so for the entire lifespan of the aircraft. Most of these parts are made from composite materials.
"Aerosud won this contract in competition against other bidders in an open tender process around the world," highlighted Airbus VP: international cooperation Simon Ward at the Aerosud facility in Centurion, south of Pretoria, when announcing the new contract. "I cannot stress enough that this was a global competition. For Aerosud, its local supply chain and South Africa, all of this represents incomparable potential for sustainable industrial, commercial and socioeconomic benefits."
The awarding of the contract was welcomed by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, who was the keynote speaker at the event. "One of the areas in which we are competitive is composite materials," he highlighted. "We have, we believe, a number of strengths [in the aerospace sector]. This contract highlights those strengths. This is a great day for South African manufacturing."
Davies noted the various incentives and support structures his and other departments have created to support the local aerospace industry. "In keeping with the broad perspectives set out in our industrial policy we are of the view that the aerospace industry is a strategic one -- one characterised by significant levels of value-addition and technology intensity." He thanked Airbus for the company's support of, and involvement in, the local aerospace industry.
"This is really a very very special opportunity for us as the Aerosud group," affirmed Aerosud group MD Dr Paul Potgieter. He thanked the Minister for the support provided by his department. "These incentives are seen by us as massively important. We could not access the intentional market without them."
"I am happy to reaffirm Airbus' commitment to South Africa and its aerospace industry," stated Ward. "Today, Airbus related work is the main contributor in South Africa for the sector, by value, and probably by volume in terms of the sheer number of parts manufactured here for our programmes."