As one of the company’s three founding nations, Spain is home to major production facilities for commercial aircraft, helicopter, space and defence activities, not least final assembly lines for all Airbus Defence and Space military aircraft. The company has also established dedicated Research and Development Centres where projects at the leading edge of science and technology are researched.
Integrated in the global Airbus industrial set-up and feeding into the company’s major aircraft, defence and space programmes, approximately 12,300 highly qualified employees work on design, development, manufacture and support of aircraft and major components across eight sites located in three of Spain’s main regions (autonomous communities) of Madrid, Castile-La Mancha and Andalusia.
The company’s site at Getafe, in Madrid, is Airbus’ third largest site and where the national headquarters are located. It is also home to Campus Futura, an advanced and efficient location designed to encourage collaboration, diversity and new ways of working among employees.
Today Airbus is Spain’s aerospace and defence champion, leading the bulk of Spain’s national and cooperative aerospace and defence programmes. Driving the national industry, Airbus Spain spends approximately €2,200 million annually on the national supply chain, while generating exports worth more than €4.3 billion per year (60% of Spain’s A&D exports) and providing a GDP contribution of €3.57 billion (2019 figures).
Airbus is the leading supplier of aircraft to the Spanish Air Force, the country’s prime for national and ESA-led space programmes and, as the largest helicopter company and provider, supports our helicopters in operations with the National Police Force, the Guardia Civil and emergency services, helping to save lives on a daily basis.
Through more than 50 agreements with 8 different universities, Airbus Spain has provided a total of 453 scholarships in 2019, exceeding the record annual average of the 2,200 scholarships offered between 2017-2019. Airbus is also working to define a structure in the field of Vocational Training for the aerospace sector in Spain by leading the identification of future competencies, the development of training programmes and the implementation of Vocational Training degrees. This is a crucial aspect to foster the talent ecosystem in Spain.
Airbus Commercial Aircraft in Spain, employing approximately 3,000 employees, produces the horizontal stabilisers for the entire range of Airbus commercial aircraft at its facilities in Getafe, Illescas and Puerto Real, among other components.
Getafe (in the Madrid region) is responsible for designing, engineering and manufacturing of components for all Airbus aircraft. They include the assembly and testing of the horizontal stabilisers for the wide-body A350 and A330, as well as for the single-aisle A320 Family. This site also is responsible for producing the A350’s tail cone (Section 19).
Also located in Getafe, Airbus UpNext and the Zero Emission Development Centre (ZEDC) for hydrogen technologies complement Airbus’ footprint in Spain, and will boost Spain’s innovation and new technologies. The focus of the Spanish ZEDC is non-propulsive energy, systems for fuel cell cooling and fiber optics, as well as carbon fiber tanks for storing cryogenic liquid hydrogen. The tank development is done in a coordinated approach with the other Airbus national entities.
Airbus UpNext gives future technologies a development fast-track by building demonstrators at speed and scale. The Airbus UpNext entity in Spain will initially be accountable for the study and demonstration of hydrogen-powered non-propulsive energies, as well as future tanking operations applying advancements in vision-based technology. These technologies are critical to fuel a future zero-emission aircraft, supporting the goal of an entry-into-service by 2035.
The site of Illescas (Toledo) has maintained Airbus at the forefront of aviation composites, contributing to the success of the different Airbus programmes. Illescas is responsible for manufacturing the components of the empennage and aft fuselage for all Airbus aircraft versions and for the Eurofighter combat aircraft. The A350 wing’s lower cover – the largest single carbon fibre component on this aircraft – is also produced at the site.
Puerto Real (in the Cádiz region) is responsible for the production of the horizontal stabilizer’s lateral boxes for the A350 and A330 families, and elevators for the A320 family, among other components.
With a long and illustrious heritage, tracing back to the early days of aviation through AISA and even to De La Cierva of autogiro fame, Airbus’ Helicopters division is Spain’s leading helicopter company and number one supplier to the Spanish Armed Forces and to the main governmental fleets, including the Guardia Civil, Police, the General Directorate of road traffic, among others.
From its main site at Albacete, Airbus Helicopters employs more than 500 people in activities ranging from design, manufacturing, MRO and related services, as well as sales and programme management functions. The company is also present at Airbus’ Getafe headquarters, where it provides key design and engineering support, while teams of engineers and technicians are embedded at key customers’ sites as well as at dedicated civil and military fleet support facilities across the country.
The factory of Albacete is a core part of Airbus Helicopters' global industrial set up, established today as the centre of excellence for rear fuselages of Airbus’ entire civil helicopter range. It is also where production of the front and centre fuselages for all variants and customers of the NH90 helicopter takes place.
Airbus’ defence and space activities combined employ the greatest share of the company’s Spanish workforce, with approximately 7,700 employees spread across five sites. The Military Air Systems business, which represents approximately 50% of the Defence and Space division, is led from Spain and combines traditional strengths of the company in Spain in terms of strategic and tactical transport and mission aircraft, along with Airbus’ participation in the Eurofighter programme, Europe’s leading collaborative defence programme.
For defence-related business, Airbus is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of military transport aircraft and plays a leading role in the twin-jet Eurofighter combat aircraft.
The Getafe site in Madrid is home to Military Aircraft Design and Engineering, Spain’s Eurofighter FAL, A400M MRO and A330 MRTT conversion centre, where military avionics and the Spanish-designed refuelling systems are installed on the Airbus’ A330 jetliners in their transformation into the world-leading Multi Role Tanker Transport variant. In Seville, San Pablo is home to the Military transport activities and the FAL for the four-engine turboprop-powered A400M airlifter and twin-turboprop C295, supported by the pre-FAL at the site at Tablada. Seville is also where Airbus’ Military Aircraft International Training Centre and Delivery Centre is located. A world reference in advanced and composite materials, Centro Bahía de Cádiz (CBC), located in the Cadiz region, delivers key components for both military and civil platforms.
As world-leading experts in geo-information and defence solutions, Airbus Intelligence site in Barcelona helps decision makers to increase security, optimise mission planning, improve management of resources and protect our environment.
As Spain’s leading aerospace design and manufacturing company, Airbus leads Spain’s participation in the Eurodrone program and is home to the lead engineering office for the future European drone.
Airbus’ Getafe site offers expertise and know-how in the design and development of mission systems and ground stations for UAVs, as well as proven experience in the development of simulators, not least those used by the Spanish Air Force Matacán base.
With an established track record stretching back over recent decades, Airbus Spain has developed capabilities over the course of some of Europe´s leading UAS programmes and demonstrators, including Atlante and Sirtap, Barracuda and Neuron.
Airbus Space in Spain is the driving force of the Spanish space sector. All the space activities are being concentrated in the Getafe site which counts with the most advanced production facilities for satellites and launchers. Airbus is also the satellite builder company in Spain. It has primed the Spanish PAZ and Ingenio Earth observation satellites. For the European Space Agency (ESA) it has designed and built the first ESA satellite primed by a Spanish company, the CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite) scientific spacecraft and is now developing the first Copernicus satellite built in Spain, the LSTM (Land Surface Temperature Monitoring).
In launchers, Airbus in Spain designs and manufactures the large launcher structures in carbon fibre for the Ariane 5, Ariane 6 and Vega commercial launch vehicles. Its expertise in the treatment of carbon fibre has gained international recognition as a Composite Centre of Excellence.
Airbus has also developed Instruments and payloads for several ESA satellites like SMOS, MetOp-SG, Quantum and SMILE, becoming an international reference in active antennas. Currently it is developing those for Spainsat-NG and Galileo-SG.
Airbus Spain also plays a key role in Mars and other exploration missions. For example, it has provided the active antennas of NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers– transmitting the daily communications with Earth. Both rovers also count with the meteorological stations built by Airbus in Spain.
Since 1966, Airbus Space in Spain has been present in most of the European and National success programmes, whether they be satellites, launchers or in orbit infrastructure like the International Space Station.
Airbus is an important driver of national prosperity, technology and skills, working closely with 1300 companies in the supply chain, including some of Spain’s leading companies such as Aernova, Indra, ITP Aero and Siemens’. The company also collaborates closely with academia and key Government education bodies and supports key think tanks and institutions.
Facilities operated by Airbus in the Seville region serve as a cornerstone for the Andalusian Aerospace Cluster, which brings the company together with the region’s aerospace stakeholders and players, including Tier 1 suppliers, SMEs (small and medium enterprises), universities, technology centres, entrepreneurial organisations, unions and the regional government.
Airbus has drawn on its innovation heritage and pioneering spirit to foster the development of new, critical technology for the future of aerospace and defence, all built on the skills and talent of our scientists and engineers in Spain. In the last few years, the company has increased its R&D footprint in Spain, going from 4 to 6%, and aiming to reach 10% R+D by 2023. This means 10% of the investment Airbus does in Spain would be dedicated to R+D. Annually, Airbus Spain invests more than €490 million in R+D and files roughly 80 European patents per year.
The company’s forward-looking commitment has enabled Spain to host Airbus’ global centre of excellence for composites, widely used in carbon fibre aerostructures and components.
Airbus UpNext and the Zero Emission Development Centre will also be major spanish contributors at the leading edge of science and technology, and to Airbus’ objectives on sustainability. It ensures the involvement, from the start, of some of the best spanish experts to support our zero-emission ambition.
Spain also enables innovation through Airbus Scale, the company’s innovation unit that will support Airbus’ recovery and future growth, contributing to the development of future programmes and businesses as part of our zero-emissions ambition. Airbus Scale brings together corporate innovation, startup engagement and company building activities all into one.
Spain hosts one of Airbus’ 11 ProtoSpace centres, a global network of rapid design and prototyping facilities dedicated to facilitating innovation through agile and collaborative working practices which benefit from expertise spread across the globe. The mission is to incubate, accelerate and elevate technologies that bring benefit to Airbus’ business and operations.
In addition, the innovative Airbus Defence and Space activities developed as part of the European Clean Sky 2 programme have been developed at the company´s facilities in Spain. CleanSky 2 is the largest European Research Program developing innovative technologies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry. Key among these research programmes is Flight Test Bed 2, a C295 in-flight demonstrator incorporating new technologies, flight controls and aerostructures with a new high-efficiency wing design aiming to reduce C02, NOx and noise levels as a key contribution to the sustainable aviation of the future.
Other innovative developments include the A330 MRTT’s automatic air-to-air refuelling system or the use of drones for aircraft maintenance.
Airbus Spain carries out actions as a part of its corporate social responsibility such as helping students find their career path in aerospace through the 'Airbus Flying Challenge' programme. The company also values its local relationships around their plants and collaborates with associations based near its facilities through the “Rincón Solidario” initiative. Airbus is a strong advocate for an inclusive workplace, and has a specific programme for supporting disabled in the workplace and helping family members of its employees with disabilities.