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The aerospace & aeronautics industry in Flanders

Our effort in business, science and engineering to fly within Earth’s atmosphere and beyond has only been taken to new heights in recent years. Aerospace is big in Flanders, despite it being a relatively small region. Learn how our industrial expertise in aeronautics, astronautics and aviation can help your aerospace business skyrocket.

A hotbed for aeronautics and astronautics innovation

In Flanders, you gain access to the unique expertise of manufacturers and services providers for aeronautics, aviation, astronautics and more – from partners for machining, components, maintenance, repair, systems and sensors to consulting, training and testing. In addition, numerous enablers help drive the industry forward. Think of cluster organization FLAG and strategic research centers VITO and imec, to give just three examples.

Made with expertise from Flanders: key rocket parts for Elon Musk

When conducting test flights, aerospace manufacturers usually launch a concrete block or a massive piece of steel to simulate the weight of the rocket’s payload. In that case, there’s no need for any insulation. However, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, likes to do things differently.

In February 2018, Musk decided to launch a Tesla roadster into outer space, requiring top-notch insulation. That’s where Recticel came in. Headquartered in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and Flanders, Recticel made a customized foam solution to help fulfil the idiosyncratic CEO’s childhood dream.

“Our product insulates the rocket cabin’s interior, protecting it from sound vibrations during takeoff and safeguarding onboard satellites,” explains Olivier Chapelle, CEO of Recticel.

Learn more about Recticel’s contribution to the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Falcon Heavy Demo Mission - Payload

Dedicated cluster to take aerospace to new heights

In April 2017, the Flemish Aerospace Group (FLAG) became the official cluster for the aeronautical industry in Flanders, working closely with Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The goal? To double the industry’s turnover and enable a 50% increase in employment by 2030 compared to 2014.

To obtain this, FLAG will:

  • define and initiate long-term cooperation between aerospace players;
  • foster stronger ties between the aerospace industry, universities and research centers;
  • create concrete innovation projects that are embedded in the global aerospace supply chain.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers incentives that are relevant to research-intensive domains like aeronautics, astronautics, aviation, etc. Examples include:

  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of a firm’s net earnings from innovation is tax exempt;
  • investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
  • exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields.

R&D tax incentives in Flanders

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