SONACA (Société Nationale de Construction Aérospatiale SA) is a Belgian aerospace company. The company began as Avions Fairey, a subsidiary of British manufacturer Fairey Aviation. When financial difficulties forced Fairey into receivership in 1977, Avions Fairey was taken into public ownership by the Belgian Government. This was done partly to calm social unrest but also to secure the licensed production of F-16 fighter aircraft. SONACA is still largely owned by the Walloon Government.
From 1979 to 1991 SONACA produced 220 F-16, for both the Belgian and Danish Air Forces, under license from US company General Dynamics. In 1979 SONACA joined Belairbus for manufacturing parts for Airbus.
In 1990, in spite of difficulties SONACA became the partner of the Brazilian Embraer Regional Jet program.
In 2000 SONACA opened a subsidiary near EMBRAER called SOBRAER in Brazil's Sao Jose Dos Campos, mainly engaged in the manufacture of fuselage parts.
Since 2004, SONACA also has two companies in Sao Jose Dos Campos engaged in supplying small aircraft parts, called PESOLA and SOPEÇAERO.
From 2005 SONACA was again struggling with financial problems. This time it tried to compensate with layoffs and the relocation of labor-intensive production to Brazil.