Can you provide some background on the establishment of the Italian Industries Federation for Aerospace, Defense and Security (AIAD) and its role in promoting the aerospace industry in Italy?

AIAD has its roots in the formation of the Federation of Aircraft Manufacturers (AIA) in 1947, which aimed to unite Italy’s aviation industry and represent, promote, and protect its interests within national and international organizations. Today, AIAD has over 100 member companies, employing 50,000 personnel across Italy. In 2014, the aerospace industry generated over €15 billion for the Italian economy, accounting for 75% of that total.

Over the past 70 years, AIAD has grown to become a stable reference point for the aerospace industry, representing its interests in front of governmental agencies and institutions. It also coordinates research and technological innovation activities through three platforms: ACARE Italy for Aeronautics, SERIT for security, and SPIN-IT for space.

How does AIAD work to expand markets for Italian aerospace manufacturers?

AIAD maintains close ties with similar associations abroad, leveraging their experience and knowledge. The organization also conducts significant activities to support the internationalization process, collaborating with the Secretariat General of Defense, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE) to participate in major international events and business conventions. AIAD aims to foster collaborations between Italian and foreign companies, matching international demand with Italian supply. Additionally, the organization offers international delegations the opportunity to explore aerospace regions of interest, showcasing investment opportunities and potential scientific and commercial projects.

In terms of global reach, AIAD focuses on North and South America, South-East Asia, and select countries in the Arabian Peninsula. In Europe, its efforts center on fostering collaboration with other countries and developing research and innovation projects for Horizon 2020.

What is the significance of the aerospace and defense sector to Italy’s economy?

Maintaining an adequate technological and industrial base is vital to safeguarding Italy’s interests internationally. Italian companies play a crucial role in satisfying the demands of the armed forces, positioning Italy as a leading player in the defense industry. Defense represents only 1% of Italy’s GDP, but it contributes an average surplus of up to €5 billion (8 to 10%) to the country’s trade balance.

Could you discuss the importance of the aerospace industry to particular provinces in Italy?

Italy has 11 aerospace districts, with Campania, Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, and Apulia being the most significant. Although Varese in Lombardy is known as “the winged province” due to its history with the Italian Air Force, it is difficult to pinpoint one leading aerospace district. AIAD collaborates with the National Technology Cluster for Aerospace (CTNA), which coordinates activities across the country.

The Piedmont aerospace district is particularly important because it covers the entire spectrum of aerospace activities. The region combines research and production, with a continuous growth rate of 6.7% in production volume. Piedmont also benefits from three leading universities and research centers, five leading multinationals, and more than 400 small to medium-sized companies, employing over 10,000 people and generating revenues of €1.8 billion.

What are the future opportunities for the Italian aerospace industry?

The Italian aerospace industry is the fourth largest in Europe and the seventh largest in the world. Italian companies have focused on specific technological areas with significant international demand, enhancing the capabilities of both large companies and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). LeonardoFinmeccanica represents 80% of the Italian industry within the sector, positioning it among the top European players. The Italian industry has real potential to consolidate its technological expertise and become a leading company on an international level.

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