It is no coincidence that Bordeaux is hosting the 3rd edition of the ADS Show, dedicated to maintaining operational readiness, on September 29th and 30th.
This international-scale event is an opportunity for Bordeaux to demonstrate the growth of the aircraft maintenance sector in Nouvelle-Aquitaine as well as its expertise in the military field, both in industry and in training.
In this changing market, maintaining operational readiness has become a strategic issue for armies, and is recognized as a priority by the Military Planning Law of 2014-2019.
An international MRO exhibition in Bordeaux
The biennial ADS Show, in conjunction with the World Military MRO Congress, is the international Defense aeronautics MRO* event (Maintenance, Repair and Operations).
Over 2 days, 4,000 professionals, French and foreign army purchasers (40 invited delegations), international experts, civil and military trainers, large companies, and also smaller, innovative companies will have the opportunity to meet and exchange views at the 106 air base in Bordeaux Mérignac.
The 2016 edition includes two events: an international exhibition focused on defense MRO and a world congress for professionals to prepare the future of MRO in aeronautics.
Besides the tactical village and technical demonstrations, the salon will be based on three themes: disruptive innovations (photonics, virtual reality…), training and operational maintenance for helicopters.
Major industry investment: Thales et Dassault
Aeronautic maintenance is a fast-growing industry in the Bordeaux region, and more widely, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The region is one of the leading aeronautic centers in maintenance, particularly in the defense sector.
With 7,000 jobs, 3,000 of which are linked to the Defense Ministry and around 40 smaller businesses already active, the Bordeaux region is counting on development in this sector in order to gain new contracts.
The SIMMAD (integrated structure for maintaining operational readiness of aeronautic defense materials) was transferred to Bordeaux in 2012, and has added to operational maintenance activity in the region, with this this group of 700 people running the maintenance of all aircraft in the army.
The Air Force Command was created, including operational project management for the Air Force, or inter-army concentration, as well as the grouping of the aeronautic, space, and civil (Airbus, Dassault, Thales, Safran…) and State (SIAé) defense industries in the Gironde, demonstrating how attractive this region is, currently hosting 24 major manufacturing sites dedicated to aeronautics, as well as a vast network of smaller businesses.
Two of these groups are making aeronautic news in Bordeaux: Thales, with their soon-to-be-inaugurated campus in Mérignac, and Dassault, with their new Falcon maintenance unit (DFS).
Thales’ new site in Mérignac, a showcase for technology, will host 2,600 people from October, primarily engineers, in aeronautics and defense professions. €200 million have been invested in this site, which is made up of micro-businesses.
As proof of its integration in the region, Dassault Aviation is creating a Dassault Falcon Services (DFS) maintenance center, specializing in top-end business jets (in particular, the Falcon 7X) which should create 100 further jobs for this new site in Mérignac.
Dassault Aviation have invested €20 million in this new plant, which will be operational in October, on a 7,200m² surface area near the other Dassault plant making the Rafale and the Falcon business jet.
This new maintenance center will be able to hold up to six aircraft of Falcon 7X, 8X and 5X size once it is fully operational in 2018.
Invest in Bordeaux assisted this project with employees transferred to Mérignac from the R&D center in Le Bourget.
A high-profile training ecosystem
The Aerocampus Aquitaine is gathering momentum, and has become the specialist in aeronautic maintenance training, exporting its concept and knowledge worldwide.
With a team of 80 people, the training center hosts 20 organizations.
Although the primary role of the training cluster is aeronautic maintenance training, it is diversifying its tasks to become an aeronautic and spatial campus.
It is also the instigator of the biennial ADS Show.
Keeping with the subject of international cooperation, the Universities of Bordeaux and Cincinnati in the USA signed a partnership at the last Farnborough Airshow, to set up a common training course in aeronautic maintenance.