A further round of consolidation in the French aerospace industry is on the cards as the Government studies merging the CNES space agency with Onera, responsible for fundamental aeronautics research.

A merger would bring together two organisations of about the same size, and enable cuts in management costs and improvements in efficiency. While it is not the first time that a merger of the two agencies has been mooted, the Government has now made the study a high-level priority.

Onera president Michel Scheffer says that the studies are concentrating on whether to bring the two organisations together or to create a totally new agency. The two agencies are already closely linked. Around 300 of Onera's staff of 2,200 work on space activities and one-third of those on direct contracts from CNES.

There are questions, however, about whether merger would provide real benefits. One industry source points out that the two agencies are "totally different", with CNES concentrated on specific programmes and Onera aimed at fundamental research.

Source: Flight International