France is one of the largest civil and military aerospace markets in the world, home to Airbus, Dassault, Snecma, Eurocopter and, importantly, home to their complex supply-chains.
The Aerospace Sector in France
ξ France is one of the largest civil and military aerospace markets in the world, home to Airbus,
Dassault, Snecma, Eurocopter and, importantly, home to their complex supply-chains.
The French aerospace industry has an annual turnover of around 38 billion euros. Around 76% of
this turnover is in the civil sector and 24% in defence. Prime Contractors account for 53% of
revenue, equipment manufacturers 29%, and engine manufacturers 18%.
The order-books had been slower to fill up until 2010, but a spectacular intake of orders over the
last year (+34%) means that there is now a backlog big enough to keep the industry going at
present production levels for the next seven years. All the sub-sectors, from airframes, engines,
avionics to interior equipment, are present in the market and very busy. The aerospace supply-
chain is under pressure to deliver on time, to be ever more competitive, and to source outside the
euro-zone. This represents an opportunity for British suppliers who can demonstrate that they
can provide high quality, keen pricing and reliability.
ξ The prime contractors Airbus, Dassault, ATR, Eurocopter and Snecma are all moving
management of procurement down their supply-chains and this means new opportunities.
ξ Airbus is finalising the industrial production of the A380 and currently developing the
A350 XWB and the top-selling A320 “Neo”. Airbus and their supply-chain are keen to
find the most competitive quality suppliers available.
ξ Dassault Aviation manufacture not only military aircraft but also their range of Falcon
Business Jets (63 deliveries in 2011) and they are increasingly involved with UAVs.
ξ ATR is a Franco-Italian JV based in Toulouse producing Regional Turboprops which are
increasingly popular as fuel prices increase. They won 157 orders and 79 options in 2011
and cater for around 80% of the market for this type of aircraft.
ξ Eurocopter is now the world’s biggest producer of civil and military helicopters. They
delivered 503 helicopters last year.
ξ SAFRAN is the holding company for Snecma and Turbomeca (engines), Messier Dowty
(landing gear), Aircelle (nacelles) and many others. They delivered 1308 CFM 56
engines (Snecma and GE) and 922 helicopter turbines from Turbomeca.
ξ 17% of the French industry turnover is reinvested in R & D. There is a big demand on
research and technology; this will increase over the next few years with a demand for
quieter, cleaner and more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Latest export opportunities in Aerospace sector
Latest export opportunities in France
Getting into the market
It is important to understand the aerospace supply-chain and to target the right tier for entry.
Selling to the majors is becoming increasingly rare as procurement control and management
move down to the lower tiers.
Aerospace approvals are well understood in the industry but individual audits must be expected.
You should not to become discouraged with the difficulty of selling in France. There is an
assumption that there will be a prejudice towards French suppliers; whereas any potential
supplier who is reliable, competitive and delivers quality products will be taken very seriously.
The industry faces global competition and must find the best suppliers
More about doing business in France