Aerocluster: Taking off together
12:04 9 de December de 2021 By Daniel Oiticica
El Salvador launched in October 2021 the Aerocluster El Salvador, the completion of a series of tripartite efforts to position the country as a provider of aeronautical services and also for the manufacture and assembly of aircraft parts. This is an alliance that will operate in the triple helix modality: government, private sector and academia, joining efforts to position the country in new investment domaines. The total investment is US$200 million over the next four years, to create 2,500 jobs annually.
What is a cluster? A cluster is the integration of different companies and sectors dedicated to offering services and products for a specific activity, in this case the aeronautical and aerospace activities. The Aerocluster will focus on strengthening aircraft maintenance, an activity that El Salvador has been doing for several decades, parts manufacturing, software and hardware systems, among others. The objective is for the country to participate in the assembly and manufacture of small and medium-sized aircraft.
“This cluster is part of a long-term state policy. It represents the integration of different products and services in aerospace with all the companies related to maintenance, parts and systems manufacturing. All the actors working together,” says the Secretary of Commerce and Investments, Miguel Kattan.
“It is a project that will create multiple opportunities. The transfer of technology and knowledge, the expansion of markets, the creation of more and better jobs for Salvadorans”, remarks the Minister of Economy, María Luisa Hayem.
The Aerocluster seeks to become a hub for economic development in the region and to promote the transfer of knowledge between government, the private sector and academia. The function and role of the government, through measures such as the Trade and Investment Policy of El Salvador 2020 – 2050, will create the ideal investment atmosphere, to the train human resources and institutions necessary to manage individual efforts towards the goal of economic and social development of the country.
The aeronautical sector in El Salvador was launched by companies such as Aeroman, which has been offering aircraft maintenance services for 35 years, and has also become a source of employment for skilled labor. With 35 years of experience, Aeroman has foreign clients and a 98% efficiency in On Time Aircraft, whose costs are 40% lower than those of the United States and Mexico.
Aeroman’s track record has also led to a demand for technical staff. To meet this demand, the Universidad Don Bosco and the Instituto Técnico de Exalumnos Salesianos, which are also part of the Aeroclúster, as well as the Instituto José Simeón Cañas de Zacatecoluca and aviation schools collaborate with training programs.
The Universidad Don Bosco (UDB), the Dárdano Aviation School, the Air Force of El Salvador, the José Simeón Cañas Institute and the EXSAL Technical Institute are working on the construction of a Technology Center and an Aerospace Studies Center that will contribute to the cluster.
El Salvador generated US$321.3 million in exports of aircraft operational and maintenance services in 2019, thanks to direct access to more than 30 origin and destination routes, as well as air traffic connections. Through the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Government of El Salvador has a strategic alliance with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to enhance efforts in the development of science and technology.