The aeronautical maintenance and repair (MRO) sector plays a crucial role in the aviation industry, ensuring the safety and performance of aircraft. Castilla-La Mancha, a region located in the centre of Spain, has experienced significant growth in this sector in recent years.
The number of companies dedicated to production in the aeronautical sector, as well as to Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) of aircraft in Castilla-La Mancha has been increasing in recent years. As can be seen in the following image, a geographical triangle has been drawn, made up of the main groups of companies of this sector in the region. The vertices of the triangle are Illescas, Ciudad Real and Albacete.
The companies included in the activity CNAE 3030 (Aeronautical and space construction and machinery) have a turnover in Castilla-La Mancha of around 625 M€ and employ a total of 1,389 people. Adding the companies that are indirectly related to the aeronautical MRO sector and their employees, the estimated turnover amounts to 1,200 M€ and employs 3,000 people in Castilla-La Mancha.
Main MRO activities
- Overhaul, repair and overhaul of the engine.
- Spare parts overhaul and refurbishment.
- Repair and calibration of ground equipment (GSE MRO).
- Maintenance engineering and planning.
- Maintenance inspections (checks).
The impact of the MRO sector in Castilla-La Mancha is a consequence of several competitive advantages specific to the region, which are described below:
Collaboration and synergies
Castilla-La Mancha region fosters collaboration and synergies between companies in the sector and institutions. Some examples are the aeronautics cluster of Castilla-La Mancha or the permanent collaboration with the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM). These collaborations allow the exchange of knowledge, resources and experiences, promoting innovation. The synergies created drive the growth of the MRO sector in the region, generating new business opportunities and strengthening competitiveness.
Regional government support and incentives
The region of Castilla-La Mancha strongly supports this sector. Government and institutions are perfectly aligned in offering incentives to promote the development of the aeronautical sector in the region.
Weather conditions are also an advantage, since in the MRO sector temperature, humidity, wind, ice or snow affect maintenance operations. In this sense, the airports of Ciudad Real and Albacete have a large number of clear days and usually low relative humidity throughout the year.
Another of Castilla-La Mancha’s most outstanding competitive advantages in the aeronautical field is the presence of highly qualified professionals. The region has sectoral training centres for the aeronautical sector and universities offering specialised programmes in aeronautical engineering and related areas. According to statistics published by the UCLM, more than 650 students graduate from this university each year with Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degrees in the fields of Engineering, including the Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering in Toledo.
TEDAE foresees the need to incorporate more than 500,000 new engineers in the world dedicated to MRO activities, as a result of the commissioning of 35,000 new aircraft and the retirement of another 13,000 obsolete aircraft. Castilla-La Mancha ensures an important source of talent to reach this forecast.
Infrastructure dedicated to the aeronautical sector
Ciudad Real has an international airport and a large availability of industrial land. Ciudad Real airport, also known as CRIA, occupies a total of 1,234 hectares, an aircraft parking area of 220,000 m² and a runway of 4,200 metres in length. The airport is currently used for MRO activities, freight transport and aviation executive.
Albacete also has an airport for civil and military use, the Science and Technology Park and an additional park called the Aeronautical and Logistics Park, all of which are dedicated to aerospace activity. The activities carried out at Albacete airport are related to charter flights, executive aviation and MRO operations.
The triangle is completed by the town of Illescas. This town in Toledo has mobilised a large amount of industrial land for the same purpose, just 23 minutes from the Airbus facilities in Getafe.
The result of this set of infrastructures in Castilla-La Mancha will reduce aircraft maintenance times, a decisive factor for MRO companies and their customers.
Other infrastructures. In addition, Castilla-La Mancha has an extensive network of roads and motorways and an important high-speed rail network, offering excellent connectivity and access to other relevant centres of aeronautical activity.
Energy infrastructures also play an important role in ensuring the supply of green energy throughout the region. Castilla-La Mancha generated 17.8% of solar energy and 13.7% of wind energy in Spain in 2022, with a total installed capacity near to 8,000 MW. Furthermore, according to the Census of Projects of the Spanish Hydrogen Association, there are more than 15 projects underway related to green hydrogen in the region.
Commitment to quality and security
The aeronautical sector is highly regulated and requires high standards of quality and safety. In this regard, companies in Castilla-La Mancha strive to maintain a constant commitment to excellence in their operations. They comply with international regulations and certifications, guaranteeing the reliability and safety of the services they offer, which strengthens their position in the sector.
Examples of companies related to the aeronautical and MRO sector installed in Castilla-La Mancha:
Sources: SABI, Sitios Web de las Empresas y Prensa
Opportunities: Right time in the right place
The aviation sector is experiencing traffic growth of 4% per year. Currently 12 million people fly daily, which means an average of 120,000 flights per day with peaks of up to 200,000 flights per day. According to TEDAE, Spain has a traffic of around 6,000 flights per day and this figure is expected to increase in the coming years to 7,000 flights per day.
The increase in world traffic, and especially domestic air traffic, makes Spain a good location for MRO services. Castilla-La Mancha is a strategic location in Spain for MRO services companies due to its cluster of installed companies and its facilities.
The needs related to MRO of the different types of aircraft such as aeroplanes, light aircraft, helicopters, military aircraft and commercial aircraft could be met within the Castilla-La Mancha region and only in very limited cases the aircraft would need to go to third locations to finish some work.
In conclusion, the aeronautical maintenance and repair sector in Castilla-La Mancha offers opportunities in the field of MRO for business growth, job creation and investment attraction in an international context that is currently going through a turbulent period. Castilla-La Mancha has become an environment in which to land all the investments that ensures the growth expectations of this sector.