Aeronautics is one of the key, high-tech sectors of EU) and it is fundamental to assure the future of European integration, independence, prosperity, and competitiveness in the global economy, as it is a catalyst for growth and skilled employment.

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The European Aeronautic Industry has evolved in the past 40 years all the way through a general collective European effort comprising public and private institutions, major companies, SMEs, academia and universities and research community, to become a worldwide leading industry. According to the report “Flightpath 2050 – Europe’s Vision for Aviation”, currently, aeronautics and air transport are key drivers of European cohesion and competitiveness, representing 220 billions of Euros and providing 4,5 million of jobs in Europe, a figure that should double by 2020. These facts reinforce that aeronautics has a critical responsibility in facilitating European economic growth and social inclusion, providing revenues to otherwise isolated regions and allowing people to enlarge their horizons.

However, Europe is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis and a new period is arising, where EU has to deal with several social challenges such as globalisation of the economy, need of a financial system reform, the climate change, the ageing of the population, migration and internal mobility, urbanisation and an increasing scarcity of resources (specially of non-renewable energy sources). The European Aeronautic Industry is directly and strongly affected by these new challenges in terms of its competitiveness, performance and sustainability. In addition, the sector is being affected by globalisation, difficulties in accessing finance, new competitors arising (namely Brazil, Canada, China, India and Russia), new markets and a constant need to innovate. To achieve the desirable sustained growth, the Aeronautic Industry highly depends on the availability of flexible and high-skilled labour force.