Spain unveils aid to aeronautical sector
The government of Spain, home to an arm of European planemaker Airbus, approved a EUR 3.7-billion (USD 5.5-billion) aid package for the nation's aeronautical industry Friday to help it through the economic downturn.Madrid - The government of Spain, home to an arm of European planemaker Airbus, approved a EUR 3.7-billion (USD 5.5-billion) aid package for the nation's aeronautical industry Friday to help it through the economic downturn.
"The aeronautical sector is strategic for Spain because it develops products with high added value and it creates high-skilled jobs," the industry ministry said in a statement.
The aid, to be distributed between 2010-2014, will go toward the development of new products and maintain demand as well as aid work in Spain on the development of Airbus' next passenger jet, the mid-sized A350, it added.
The consolidated turnover in the Spanish aeronautical sector in 2008 amounted to EUR 5.1 billion, an increase of around 25 percent over the previous year, according to government figures.
The industry provides direct employment in Spain to more than 33,000 people, a figure that can be multiplied by four or five if indirect employment is considered.
The government has stepped up its efforts to change the country's growth model after the Spanish economy entered into its first recession in 15 years at the end of last year as the global credit crunch worsened a correction that was already underway in its key construction sector.
Spain accounts for just three percent of "high-quality" European exports, compared to 12 percent for France or almost a third for Germany, according to the Paris-based CEPII institute.