Aerodays '93 calls for Community action
Leading figures from Europe's aeronautical industries and research community were present at Aerodays '93 on 4-5 October in Naples. The Conference was organized by the European Commission as part of its continuing activity to provide greater collaboration in aeronautics research in Europe. The Conference provided a forum for the international exchange between partners participating in both Community- and EUREKA-funded aeronautics research projects and the interested international authorities. The four years since the launch of the first pilot phase of European Community support for aeronautics RTD has led to valuable cooperation between more than 150 companies, universities and research institutes, including some 25 small and medium enterprises. The event was considered timely in view of the planning currently under way for the Community's Fourth Framework Programme of research and technological development. The 1994-1998 Framework Programme is to reflect the views endorsed at the Edinburgh Council of Ministers of October 1993, emphasizing generic research with multisectoral applications. However, the Commission has proposed that in areas such as aeronautics, which is recognized as an important industry for Europe, there should be a coordination of the activities in the different cross-disciplinary research programmes. This is to be supported by bringing industry, public bodies and users into consultation on work-programme priorities. During the Aerodays '93 opening, the Council of Ministers was urged to undertake the necessary measures to realize the promise of a genuinely European industry. In particular, there was a call for the addition of a truly European dimension in the acquisition of an aeronautics technology supported by the Member States and by industry. Emphasis was also placed on the need for the establishment of a single European airworthiness authority and commitment to a harmonized air transport management system. Other distinguished speakers from the aeronautics and research communities underlined the considerable competitive pressures facing European aviation, and doubt was expressed as to whether the generic programmes envisaged under the Fourth Framework Programme could meet strategic needs. Member States and the Community were asked to consider launching a major European aeronautics programme, analogous to the Community's information technology programme ESPRIT. It was noted that Europe's aeronautical research establishments are now committed to the cause of Europe-wide aeronautics research: Commission Vice-President Professor A. Ruberti has recently promised the full support available within the forthcoming Framework Programme to underpin closer cooperation between these organizations. Forum panel discussions at Aerodays '93 took up the themes raised by the earlier speakers and focused on the "diffident" European approach when compared to USA commitment to aeronautical competitiveness. The panel also identified the elements of an action plan on how to respond to the fierce competitive challenges facing European Aviation.