From 28th September to 2nd October the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership organised its annual General Assembly. Due to the unusual circumstances connected to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was forced to held the GA virtually, for the first time since the inception of the EACP network.
The Covid-19 crisis also challenged the aviation industry as no crisis before ever did. The working environment as well as product landscape is changing in order to better answer the new market demand. And so does the EACP.
Thus, the General Assembly was held, conform to the new working conditions. Instead of meeting for one and a half days at a location of one of the cluster members’, virtual events were organized for a whole week. 10 events spread over 5 days guaranteed that the 45 members coming from 18 European regions could work in intense workshops and webinars on the future of the aerospace industry.
With the participation of all 45 clusters to at least one event, the EACP managed that for the first time in its history, every EACP cluster took part at the GA. This was also possible, thanks to the new implemented communication channels, which enable a much faster and agile communication. Such channels have been introduced during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis and are showing their full potential. Establishing reliable, quick, updated and easy to handle communication tools for information exchange, supports members to its best.
During the 5 days the Working Group leads had the possibility to present the work they have accomplished in the last year to the whole network. In numerous workshops, innovative ideas have been discussed like supersonic business jets, UAV testing structures or the skills and qualifications for the “new normal” in aviation industry. Further, the EACP & European Union project EuroSME held its conclusive meeting in this framework.
As on the one side countermeasures and best-practices in Covid-19 framework have been discussed, on the other side future strategies, products and outlooks have been shown. The interplay between European institutions and strategic players such EACP results to be a key-factor for the recovery of the industry.
The General Assembly unanimously decided to establish a working group on UAVs. The interest in participation is great. The first topics identified were support for internationalization, e.g. within the framework of joint trade fair presentations, and the creation of transparency regarding the share of companies from the drone economy in the respective clusters. Another task will be the creation of a map of test infrastructure especially for UAS. Daniela Richter, Hamburg Aviation, leads the working group together with co-leader René Puls from the Swiss Aerospace Cluster.
Seeing (even if only in virtual rooms), how many cluster teams are actively engaged in developing strategies for the future of the aerospace industry, fosters a certain optimism for the days to come. Being a network has never been as important as in today’s difficult times. And this year’s GA has shown, once again, that it will be possible to find a way out of this crisis, together.