As a result of increasing global integration and societal mobility, the international aeronautics industry is experiencing dynamic growth. It is one of the most sophisticated sectors with a strong influence on other industry and service sectors and air traffic is expected to double in Europe by 2020.
During this period of growth, the Austrian aeronautics industry has seen its revenues increase over the last two decades from € 30 million to more than € 620 million. Alongside the great aeronautics nations of Europe like France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, Austria’s aeronautics supply industry has had success in specialised niche areas. The aeronautics technologies developed in these segments have already been supplied to markets all over the world, with an export ratio of nearly 100%.
Despite continuing growth, this internationally oriented industry is also undergoing a period of consolidation, which brings difficult times for suppliers. The major aircraft manufacturers are reducing the number of their suppliers, supplier relationships are generally set up by the supplier themselves only after the risk-intensive process of developing their own technology, and the export trade holds additional risks. Among such intense competition, the Austrian aeronautics industry has prioritised expansion of new niche areas along with inclusion of new companies into this growth market, in addition to stabilising existing supplier relationships.
The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology supports this dynamic process with the specifically tailored national Aeronautics Research and Technology Programme TAKE OFF, which tries to achieve optimised conditions for new markets.
The principal aims of the programme are:
- to improve competence in research, technology and cooperation,
- to enlarge the pool of highly qualified specialised staff,
- to improve the market entry opportunities for new technologies and products,
- to focus interests and strengthen Austrian expertise within the European aeronautics community,
- to facilitate funding of cooperation.
Take Off is divided into different action lines:
- Aeronautics Research that expects enterprises, national consortia or Austrian enterprises in international consortia to submit strategic research proposals which will enable the Austrian players to make substantial progress in technology and know-how. Take Off will support these enterprises in achieving higher quality business portfolios, in taking substantial steps towards becoming systems developers and producers, and in positioning these enterprises effectively in international supply chains.
- Qualification Measures and Know-how Transfer: This action line supports activities such as specialised training for young academics and engineers, industrial education and training measures, exchange programmes with partners abroad, in particular within the supply chain.
- Certification Initiative: It makes a substantial contribution to developing internationally recognised certification and quality assurance structures. Relevant expertise and capacities will be built up in Austrian aeronautics enterprises and within the certification authority.
- Other action lines with regard to using offset in military procurement for interesting strategic cooperations.
Take Off improves competitiveness, promotes quantitative and qualitative growth in the aeronautics sector, and secures highly qualified and attractive jobs.
Funding is provided for the following target groups: industrial and service enterprises (with their place of operation or research facilities located in Austria), researchers from universities and non-university institutions as well as users from the aeronautics sector (airborne subsystems and parts, hardware and software, equipment and services for manufacturers, operators and infrastructure).
The total budget of the program is EUR 8.7 million. The most important ongoing funding activities include aeronautics research with a budget of EUR 5.6 million. Two calls are outlined for the astronautic research action line. For the first call 11 projects are eligible for funding.