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Aeronautic, national defense and metalworking industry

Number 1 of the industrial sector in the South-West, aeronautics has been established since the beginning of the 20th century in this area. A unique ecosystem on an international scale, it brings together world-class order givers in the presence of a large network of subcontractors specializing in precision mechanics, metalworking industry or electronics.


The creation in Pau by the Wright brothers in 1909 of the first flying school in the world sparked the enthusiasm and development of the aeronautical industry.

Today, globally famous companies have settled in the region, helping to establish the aeronautical vocation of the Adour area. This is the case with Dassault-Aviation, Fouga-Potez, Safran helicopter engines (ex Turbomeca), Safran landing systems and Daher-Socata.

The aeronautics influence is important in Pau and Béarn. It constitutes the first sector of the territory In the wake of these leaders, little by little has formed a major centre of subcontracting : precision mechanics, metalworking industry or electronics, making the Pyrénées-Atlantiques a major player in the Aerospace Valley, in the immediate vicinity of the poles of world reference in Bordeaux and Toulouse.

Accompanied by specialized training institutes, this ecosystem has infrastructures and technology transfer centres allowing it to remain in constant evolution.

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Aeronautics, the 1st economic sector of Béarn in full growth.

2% growth worldwide in 2017

More than 7,000 jobs in Béarn

120 companies in aeronautics in Béarn

28% of salaried jobs in Béarn

Many actors, implantation sites and competitiveness poles are now active in Béarn to promote the Aeronautics and National defence sector.

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Aeropolis provides the aeronautical sector with business spaces, multi-tenant facilities (inter-company restaurant, business hotel and business crib) and a training centre for industry and aerospace trades. Aeropolis hosts the headquarters and main manufacturing site of Safran helicopter engines (formerly Turbomeca), the world leader in the design, manufacture and support of helicopter turbines. More than 2500 employees work on the site.
The main strengths of the Aeropolis site are a strong intellectual and scientific environment, developed road, railway and airport networks, high quality natural spaces.

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Area of activity born in 2005 in Uzein, the aerosite is directly connected to the slopes of the airport Pau-Pyrénées. Designed to host economic activities in connection with airport infrastructures, it is surrounded by a multitude of companies representing 4 000 jobs around : Aeronautics (AD industries, MAP, CGTM, USINECA, SEDEMECA), logistics ( SDV logistics, Dachser France, partn air, Henry Johnson Co Ltd) and electronics (Aquitaine Electronique).
The site was chosen by the aeronautical subcontractor Aeroprotect, specialised in surface treatment, to install its new production plant.
The track also receives significant military traffic due to the presence of the School of Airborne Troops. A Helicopter Regiment Combat (5th RHC), is based South of the runway as well as the 4th Regiment of Special Forces Helicopters (4th RHFS). All of these military formations represent approximately 80 Gazelle, Puma, Cougar and especially Tiger helicopters with a maintenance center.

Aerospace Valley
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Created in 2005, the Aerospace Valley global competitiveness cluster combines the regions of new Aquitaine and Occitania, thus constituting the first European employment pool in the fields of Aeronautics, space and embedded systems. Its ambition is to grow jobs on its territory in these areas. It benefits from an industrial fabric specializing in technological fields of notoriety : materials (carbon fibres, composites metallurgy, nanomaterials), turbines, landing gear, mechanics, metrology… The Aerospace Valley has 8 strategic business areas :

  • Aerostructures, Materials and Processes
  • Energy and Electromechanical Systems
  • Factory, Support / MCO / MRO and Remodeling
  • Man System Interactions
  • Telecommunications, Observation, Positioning
  • Modeling, Simulation, Data Analysis
  • Embedded Systems, Connected Objects, Software and Electronics
  • Solutions for Air Transport

Some figures : 130,000 jobs, 1,500 institutions, 8,500 researchers, 2 ENAC and ISAE high schools

Aéro Adour

A local aerospace showcase, this salon brings together professionals, enthusiasts and students as well. It takes place every 2 years at the Pau-Pyrénées airport. Learn more about the latest edition of the show.

ADS Show Bordeaux

An event under the sign of military operations, it offers operational, technical and commercial meetings, promoting the sharing of experiences and the transfer of technology.


National Defense is a key sector in Béarn.

In Pau there is the School of Airborne Troops (ETAP), which is mainly responsible for the individual and collective training, technical and tactical of the paratroopers, cadres or military of the rank of the three armies and the police force. She also participates in studies and experiments in paratroopers and is positioned as guarantor of the safety of paratrooper activities. These courses represent 4000 trainees per year divided into 40 training actions for about 44000 jumps. In addition, ETAP is expanding its international reach by sending teams of trainers to the requesting countries and receiving secondments.

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The largest helicopter base for military and special forces operations is in Pau Béarn Pyrénées.

Important military base with
5,000 soldiers

Pau airport welcomes
20,000 military aircraft


Metalworking industry covers a broad spectrum of companies ranging from aeronautics to automobiles.

On the Adour area this sector represents 782 companies for more than 19 724 employees (53% industrial jobs). We find mainly mid-sized companies and SMEs with less than 50 employees.

Technology transfer and resource centre, Metallicadour conducts innovation and industrial development programmes around three main themes : metal machining, robotic operations and Assembly by FSW and other MIG, CMT, TIG techniques. Located in the heart of the Adour industrial area, its ambition is twofold : to enable SMEs and MidCaps to have shared technological means and technical support to lift technological locks and improve their competitiveness.

This multi-tenant platform structure, in connection with Compositadour, the local technological needs within collaborative projects involving also research laboratories in order to preserve and develop the local historical skills.

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Regional Plan 2020, the factory of the future.

Opening of the Metallicadour platform in 2015

1200 m2 of premises equipped with high technology

The Union of metalworking industries and trades and the training center of technological industries offer several training devices adapted to the needs of the industry. The training center is located in Aeropolis in the municipalities of Bordes and Assat.

Industry Center Training

The industry training centre offers young people aged 16 to 25 and to all audiences, including those with disabilities, an apprenticeship contract for the industry : productics, boilermaking/welding, maintenance, Electrotechnics, engineering.
The means implemented are recent, efficient, and adapted to the requirements of the 300 partner companies. They enable the implementation of trainings that meet the expectations of companies and thus contribute to the rapid integration of apprentices.

  • 92% success
  • 85% of professional insertion
  • 560 apprentices
Industry and metalworking industry association

With 613 companies in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and 169 in Bigorre, theUimm Adour (Union of industries and trades of the Adour metallurgy) represents a major sector on the Adour basin, with almost 20,000 jobs.

The training center of the technological industries also accompanies the employees of the industrial companies, but also the jobseekers in the development of their skills to the most just need of the company of tomorrow, taking into account the stages of assessment of the achievements, individualisation of the training courses and certification of the acquired competences.

Some figures : 450 client companies, 90 specialists, 4,000 trained trainees / year

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