Production facilities for Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space can all be found in Spain. The largest is the shared site at Getafe, close to Madrid, where nearly 6,000 employees work on military and civil aircraft.
Building on a strong tradition
A leading role in military aircraft programmes
The aviation industry in Getafe, and Spain, dates back to 1923 when José Ortiz-Echagüe founded Construcciones Aeronáuticas, SA. The company, usually known as CASA, went on to design and manufacture its own aircraft as well as becoming a pioneering presence in European aviation cooperation.
Having worked successfully on earlier Airbus projects CASA became part of Airbus, known as EADS at the time, in 2000. The company played a leading role in several important programmes such as the assembly and parts manufacturing of the Eurofighter and A400M, and the conversion of the A330 civil aircraft into the MRTT tanker aircraft. At the same time the manufacture of Medium and Light airlifters continued.
Airbus in Spain
in domestic revenues in 2013
Airbus is the leader of Spain’s aerospace and defence sector generating 64% of the nation’s revenues from this area of the economy. It has also been the industry’s key entrance point to European aerospace programmes.
Innovation is a priority for Airbus in Spain and 9.5% of turnover is invested in research and development. This commitment to looking forward allowed Spain to host a Centre of Excellence for composites used in carbon fibre aero structures and parts. Other developments have included advanced military systems such as FITS (fully integrated tactical system) for special mission aircraft and the ARBS (Aerial Refuelling Boom System) for the in-flight refueling of military aircraft.
Airbus in Spain
Airbus is one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers and its plants in Spain employ more than 3,250 people. The work at its centre of excellence for composites in Illescas has helped to keep Airbus at the forefront of this dynamic area of aviation. The plant’s 722 employees also contribute fuselage sections, landing gear parts and tailplane components across the Airbus aircraft families. Illescas has been key in the A380 programme, and produce section 19 and the internal skin of the wings for the Airbus A350 XWB.
At Getafe teams focus on work on the manufacture of lateral boxes for the horizontal tailplane of the A380 and the assembly and testing of horizontal tailplanes for the A350 XWB, A330 and A320 Family. This site is also responsible for A380 sections 19 and 19.1 which form the tail cone of the aircraft.
Final assembly and functional testing of the A380 horizontal tailplane is completed at Puerto Real in Andalucía. The plant also produces lateral boxes for the A350 XWB and A330. Between them Airbus’ Spanish employees produce the tailplanes for the manufacturer’s entire range of aircraft.
Airbus Defence and Space in Spain
Defence and Space employs the greatest share of Airbus’ Spanish workforce with close to 7,700 employees spread across six sites. As well as maintaining their position as Europe’s foremost space systems and space-based services company, Airbus Defence and Space is Spain’s market leader in professional mobile radio communications and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of military transport aircraft.
Work carried out at Getafe (Madrid) includes that on Tranche 2 Eurofighters and for the transformation of A330 aircraft into MRTTs (Multi Role Tanker Transport).
San Pablo and Tablada (Seville) are the location of the final assembly line for the light and medium CN235s and C295s, as well as for the A400M, the airlifter for the 21st century.
increase in workforce since 2000
Barajas and Tres Cantos (Madrid) carry out work on Europe’s most relevant space programmes, such as: Ariane 5 and Ariane 6, Copernicus, Galileo, PAZ and emblematic ones like the NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity.
Centro Bahía de Cádiz (CBC) is involved in the different Airbus family airplanes, Eurofighter, Light & Medium and other.
They all seem likely to remain busy as well-established plans are in place to add Tranche 3 Eurofighters, unmanned aerial vehicles and the TalaveraEuropean Eurofighter School to the list of activities.
Airbus Helicopters in Spain
Airbus Helicopters is the world’s top helicopter manufacturer with an in-service fleet of around 12,000 operated by more than 3,000 customers in 150 countries. Over 500 people are employed at the company’s Spanish sites at Albacete and Getafe. Spain also hosts the centre of excellence for legacy fleet, the SuperPuma/Cougar family and Tiger/NH90 new fleets.
Tasks undertaken in Spain include design and development, avionics systems and airframe, flight testing and certification, and final assembly for the Tiger and NH90 aircraft. These activities are joined by sub-assembly production for the Tiger and H135 tailbooms and the NH90 front fuselage. There are also extensive fleet support facilities which can cater for civil and military of Airbus and non-Airbus helicopters.
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