European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, is extending a multi-million rand contract with South African based Aerosud to manufacture parts for its A400M military airplane.
Flying the South African flag high in a specialised manufacturing niche market, Areosud will be responsible for the cockpit, fusalage interior lining, as well as the wing tips of the military airplane.
This will provide sustained work, high tech jobs and export revenues for South Africa. Historically, successful military transport aircraft programmes run for over 50 years.
Speaking at the media briefing to announce the awarding of the Airbus A400M production contract on 15 November 2013, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the awarding of the tender shows the capability that South Africa has in the manufacturing of high technology products.
He said it further indicates the growing confidence that the international market is gaining in the capabilities of the aerospace industry.
He said the aerospace industry is strategic and characterised by significant levels of value-addition and technology intensity.
“Because the global industry is heavily concentrated with complex supply chains in which suppliers have to meet the highest global standards, it is safe to state that it’s not a small achievement for a South African company to have become part of this supply chain,” said Davies.
According to Davies, through theAerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) and National Aerospace Centre (NAC) programmes, the dti has provided industry investment support as well as skills development in the previous financial year of ZAR27 million, supporting 169 organisations.
Davies said Aerosud had demonstrated how a close working relationship between government and the private sector is possible, and sometimes necessary for companies to achieve success in a highly competitive industry and global economy.
“The lessons from this success should and must be used to support other companies, including black owned companies as part of government’s overall efforts to transform the economy and support black economic empowerment,” he added.
International Co-operation Airbus Vice President Simon Ward, said the tender represents incomparable potential for sustainable industrial, commercial and socioeconomic benefits.
“I am happy to re-affirm Airbus’ commitment to South Africa and its aerospace industry. Today Airbus-related work is the main contributor to the sector by value, and probably by volume in terms of the sheer number of parts manufactured here for our programmes.
He said they have contracted work with the local industry worth about ZAR4 billion.
Last year alone, the value of Airbus-related manufacturing in South Africa was worth around ZAR350 million.