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Aerospace Resource Guide: France

 

France Statistics

Summary
Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Current Demand

Main Competitors

Best Prospects
Subsector Focus: Helicopters

Barriers

Trade Events/Associations

CS Contact

Capital: Paris
Population:
65 million
GDP:
USD 2.6 trillion
Currency:
Euro
Language:
French

Summary

Reported revenue for the French civil aerospace industry in 2012 grew to €31.4 billion (GIFAS), out of total non-consolidated aerospace and defense aerospace revenues of €42.6 billion, a strong 18% leap over 2011.

Orders in 2012 in the civil sector totaled €49.9 billion, notably from recent programs such as the A320 Neo and the Leap engine. The civilian sector represents 74% of turnover and 84% of exports.

The space sector also grew in 2012, with a turnover of €5.2 billion for the commercial sector, out of a total of €6 billion.

Aerospace is one of the most dynamic areas of the French economy, and one of the few creating new jobs in an otherwise morose economy. Other than the United States, France is the only country to have the full range of industry and technical knowledge needed to design and build an aircraft or satellite from start to finish.

As of April 2013, the number of Airbus aircraft on order stood at 4,973, representing seven to eight years of output. Airbus had a gross global market share of 41% in value terms in 2012.

Market Entry


Five aircraft manufacturers account for the majority of the French market: Airbus (large commercial aircraft), Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter, light-to-heavy helicopters), Dassault Falcon Jet (high-end business jets), ATR (passenger and cargo turboprop aircraft for regional transport), and Daher Socata (light aircraft and business turboprops). With the exception of Daher, these manufacturers are owned in part or entirely by the same parent company, Airbus Group. Created in 2000 and called EADS until very recently, this consortium dominates the civil aviation market.

Selling to these aircraft manufacturers entails undergoing a vendor/product qualification and assessment process. The Safran and Zodiac Groups are among Europe’s major equipment suppliers; working through one of their many North American entities is one way of making the process easier. Other major players include Thales, Liebherr Aerospace, Daher Group, Latécoère, Aerolia, Sogerma, AFI E&M, Sabena Technics, etc. The list is very long.

AS9100 and NADCAP would be considered minimum requirements for doing business in the aerospace supply chain in France.

Because of the breadth and depth of the aerospace industry in France, many U.S. manufacturers opt to use the services of a distributor or agent to reach out to the many potential customers doing business here. It is generally considered difficult to break into the business (with some exceptions based on product type) without local representation that can interface with the various layers of engineers, purchasers and supply chain quality managers. It is normal business practice in France for manufacturers’ representatives to work on retainer only or a mixed retainer/commission fee; rarely will an agent accept a commission only contract to develop new business. U.S. firms must thus be prepared to invest significantly in their business development process over a sometimes extended period before generating any orders.

Current Market Trends


France’s aerospace industry manufacturers derive nearly three-quarters of their revenues from civilian sector programs, the majority of which are destined for export. This large export market is due to the sustained interest in Dassault Falcon Jet, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus commercial aircraft, which have all successfully captured global market share. However, Airbus continues to decrease its number of suppliers overall, preferring to work directly with a handful of major tier 1 partners and referring all other potential suppliers to its supply chain at the appropriate level.

Sourcing in the U.S. Dollar zone and low cost countries continues to be a strong tendency, driving demand for American components. The US Commercial Service in Paris can help American manufacturers identify the appropriate client for their products.

Current Demand


France has for some time been the United States’ largest customer in the aerospace market, representing around 8% of U.S. aerospace exports. France has also been the single largest supplier to the U.S. aerospace market, with about a quarter of aerospace imports originating from France.

The Airbus Group Global Sourcing Network alone spent USD 14 billion in 2012 for sourcing turnover in the U.S., most of which was for Airbus commercial aircraft. Airbus Group aims to increase sourcing spending to 40% outside of Europe by 2020. Airbus Group currently has several hundred suppliers in more than 40 States. Their U.S. sourcing office in Herndon, VA should be a first stop for potential American suppliers, who can send this office an email at EADS.NAsupplier@airbus.com in order to get their “request for information” form.

Competitors


Competition includes Airbus for large passenger aircraft; Embraer for smaller regional passenger aircraft; Eurocopter for helicopters and Asia and New Zealand for offshore maintenance.

Best Prospects


There are strong ongoing opportunities for U.S. suppliers of parts, components and assemblies of civil aircraft. Airbus spends billions of dollars every year in the US on its supply base. The best prospects for American firms in this market continues to be those associated with the manufacturing of new aircraft or engine models, or in very technical products such as composites. LEAP (which will be replacing the CFM56 program / LEAP-1A to power the Airbus A320neo, LEAP-1B to power the re-engined Boeing 737MAX, LEAP-1C for the COMAC C919) and the LEAP engine nacelle (for which Aircelle/Safran has been selected) are still at the engineering and supplier selection stage. ATR, Airbus Helicopters and Dassault are all launching (or considering launching) new aircraft models. It is important to keep in mind that beyond French-made aircraft, French equipment suppliers are also working globally, on projects for Bombardier, Embraer, Suhkhoi, Avic, Agusta Bell and all the major U.S. aircraft manufacturers.

Subsector Focus: Helicopters


France’s helicopter market is dominated by Airbus Helicopters, the world’s leading rotorcraft manufacturer. Headquarted in Marignane, France, Airbus Helicopters is composed of three entities: Airbus Helicopters (the parent company), Airbus Helicopters Deutschland (the German subsidiary), and Airbus Helicopters España (the Spanish subsidiary).

AH had an excellent year in 2012, reporting an increase of 15% in revenues to reach €6.3 billion in turnover. 475 aircraft were delivered during the year, with orders for a further 469 aircraft, valued at €5.4 billion.

As part of the Airbus Group, Airbus Helicopters participates in the Group’s Global Sourcing Network to locate and assess suppliers. Please refer to the link provided under “current demand”.

Several helicopter fleet operators such as Heli-Union, Inaer, Helicoptères de France, and Airtelis
offer services to the public, hospitals, fire services, mountain rescue and industrial sectors.

Barriers


French aerospace companies are seeking to subcontract in order to manage costs and because the ramp-up in production has left many of them needing to find extra capacity to meet obligations. With new projects in various stages of development, the French market provides opportunity to the most competitive U.S. aerospace firms. However, entering the French market requires patience, investment, innovative products and competitive pricing.

Trade Events/Associations

Aeromart Toulouse 2014

December 2–4 | Toulouse, France
www.bciaerospace.com/Toulouse

Aeromart, run with the support of Airbus and its supply chain, is the leading global aerospace venue for pre-planned face to face meetings. Aeromart offers outstanding networking opportunities to manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers, subcontractors, service providers and clusters from around the globe. Commercial Service France supports the U.S. delegation to Aeromart by organizing industrial site visits and providing counseling on business opportunities.

GIFAS (French Aerospace Industry Manufacturers’ Association) www.gifas.asso.fr/en/

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information:


Ms. Cara Boulesteix
Commercial Specialist
Cara.Boulesteix@trade.gov
+33 (0) 1 43 12 70 79


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