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Aerospace Resource Guide: Poland

 

Poland Statistics

Summary
Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Current Demand

Main Competitors

Best Prospects
Subsector Focus: Helicopters

Barriers

Trade Events/Associations

CS Contact

Capital: Warsaw
Population:
38.3 million GDP USD: USD 516 billion
Currency:
Polish Zloty PLN
Language
: Polish

Summary

The civil aviation sector in Poland continues to undergo many changes concurrent with the country’s accession to the European Union. The liberalization of Poland’s air transportation industry and implementation of the “open skies” agreement as of May 1, 2004 has created a new operating environment, which promises vastly increased competition.

The number of passengers passing through Polish airports has been growing significantly over the last few years. In 2010 the figure reached almost 20.5 million and 25.2 million in 2013. The growth trend is expected to continue over the next several years at an average rate 5.5 percent. The Polish Civil Aviation Office predicts that the total number of passengers served by Polish airports will reach almost 40 million in 2020 and 59 million in 2030.

In recent years, the structure of the Polish air sector has changed significantly – first, regarding growth in the number of passengers - mostly attributed to low cost airlines, and second, regional airports have noted a much higher passenger growth rate than at the Chopin Airport in Warsaw.

Poland’s national airline (LOT) is owned by the State Treasury of Poland and LOT employees. The Polish government is reported to have had serious talks with potential investors interested in acquiring LOT shares and plans to privatize the airline.

At the same time, LOT has been experiencing severe financial problems. For several years, the company delayed its restructuring program. As a result, for last few years LOT reported significant annual losses. In December 2012, the Polish government introduced changes to the management of the airline and announced plans to cut the number of employees as well as a number of connections. At the same time, the government decided to subsidize the airline with $125 million. The financial results for 2013 were much better, showing a small profit of $8.6 million, which includes an undisclosed amount of compensation that the carrier received from Boeing following the three-month grounding of Boeing 787 planes in 2013.

Poland's current airport network consists of one central airport (Warsaw Frederic Chopin), one regional central airport (Krakow Balice), 11 regional airports, and in addition several small airports, sporting and training airports owned by the Polish Aeroclub, a number of post-Russian military airports, and a few facilities owned by manufacturing enterprises. In 2012, two new regional airports were opened – in Modlin near Warsaw and in Lublin.

The Civil Aviation Office (www.ulc.gov.pl) is the primary Polish civil aviation authority, and falls under the authority of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development.

The last 10 years has shown visible advancement in the general aviation sector in Poland. Thanks to a new aviation law introduced in 2003, pilots have found the qualifying process much simpler and the registration of general aviation aircraft has become even easier. Over the last few years, the main area of growth has been in the use of more affordable aircraft, such as ultralight aircraft. Recent notable developments for small aircraft include the introduction of advanced avionics (including GPS) and composite materials to make small aircraft lighter and faster. Ultralight and homebuilt aircraft have also become increasingly popular for recreational use, since they are much less expensive than certified aircraft.

The aerospace industry has long been an important sector of the Polish economy dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Major production plants such as PZL Swidnik, PZL Warszawa, PZL Mielec, and PZL Rzeszow were established before World War II and continued to expand during the Cold War period due to close cooperation with the Soviet aerospace industry. The end of the Cold War brought about a rapid decline in the industry as orders from former Eastern bloc countries dried up. Skilled aerospace employees were laid off by the thousands. The situation began to improve in the late 1990’s. Significant growth of production in this sector resulted from cooperation with some of the world’s largest aerospace companies. The sector grew rapidly from 2003 until today with major investors like Pratt & Whitney, Goodrich, Sikorsky, General Electric, and Agusta Westland.

Currently, there are approximately 70 aviation companies in Poland employing over 22,000 people. Ninety percent of Poland’s aerospace production is exported.

Poland is known for the production and servicing of:
• Light sport, passenger, agricultural and training aircraft;
• Helicopters;
• Gliders;
• Parts and accessories.

Much of the country’s production activity is concentrated in the South-Eastern part of Poland. Many small and medium-sized companies were established there in the vicinity of the existing indigenous producers of aerospace equipment, such as PZL Swidnik, PZL Mielec (currently owned by Sikorsky), and PZL Rzeszow (currently owned by Pratt & Whitney).

U.S. manufacturers are well represented in Poland and include such firms as Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Goodrich, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and others.

Market Entry


U.S. companies interested in the Polish market should consider cooperation with Dolina Lotnicza (Aviation Valley – www.dolinalotnicza.pl) - a ‘cluster’ of suppliers in the South-Eastern part of Poland. This organization has proven to be very effective in reaching out to the industry in Poland and abroad.

Networking opportunities within the supply chain arise from initiatives of the Dolina Lotnicza, as well as individual events organized by large aerospace investors in Poland, such as Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky.

For smaller U.S. companies, however, the initial route to market will still typically involve the appointment of a suitably qualified agent, representative or distributor.

Current Market Trends


The most important trends observed in the civil aviation sector include the growing number of passengers of low cost airlines, and a growing number of passengers at regional airports (versus Chopin Airport in Warsaw).

As regards general aviation, a growing number of people are interested in obtaining a pilot’s license. The qualifying process became much simpler and the registration of general aviation aircraft has become easier. These pilots are potential buyers of new general aviation aircraft, parts, and navigation aids.

Current Demand


The Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Development posted a detailed description of projects carried out at major Polish commercial airports. The report can be seen at the page of the Ministry:
http://www.mir.gov.pl/transport/transport_lotniczy/rozwoj_lotnisk_w_polsce/strony/start.aspx
- in Polish

The biggest and most important buyers of commercial aircraft are LOT Polish Airlines (www.lot.com ) and EuroLot (http://eurolot.com ).

There are also small local companies in Poland offering cargo flights and aero-taxi flights as well as airport services providers who might be interested in purchases. The current list of companies holding AOC, AWC, and AHAC certificates is available at the Civil Aviation Office web page under the following link:
http://www.ulc.gov.pl/en/flight-operations/306-list-of-certificates


PZL Mielec, PZL Swidnik, EADS PZL Okecie, and other smaller aircraft producers would likely be interested in purchases of various types of parts and equipment.

Competitors


The biggest competition comes from EU countries, mainly Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. This is the case with aircraft, parts, airport equipment and services. Other significant suppliers come from Brazil (Embraer aircraft) and Canada (Bombardier aircraft).

Best Prospects


Best prospects for U.S. companies include airplanes, avionics, aircraft parts and components, maintenance parts, fuel efficiency, noise and emission reduction technologies, and safety and security equipment.

Subsector Focus: Helicopters


There were 196 civilian use helicopters registered in Poland at the end of 2012. Private/company-use helicopters are dominated by Robinson R44 and Eurocopter EC120 and EC130. Bell, a more sophisticated and more expensive aircraft, is less popular with only 10 aircraft registered currently in Poland.

The major civilian user is the Polish Medical Air Rescue (http://www.lpr.com.pl ), which currently has Eurocopter EC 135, MI-2, and Piaggio 180 Avanti aircraft in its fleet.

Poland has a long tradition of manufacturing helicopters. The two main Polish aircraft producers were privatized in the last few years becoming part of global firms like Sikorsky and Agusta Westland.

WSK PZL Swidnik www.pzl.swidnik.pl
Activity: production of helicopters, gliders, industrial cooperation (Aerospatiale, Airbus, Eurocopter, Agusta-Bell, Cessna). In 2010, PZL Swidnik was acquired by Agusta Westland. The company offers mainly military helicopters (SW-4, W-3, AW-149), but SW-4 and W-3A are offered as civilian helicopters.

PZL Mielec www.pzlmielec.pl
Activity: design and testing, production of aircrafts (Skytruck, Bryza, Dromader, Iskierka), industrial cooperation (SPIRIT Aerosystem, Pratt&Whitney Canada, SAAB Aerostructur, SAAB, Westland and Stemme). After the aqusition of PZL Mielec by Sikorsky, the facility underwent modernization to support international BLACK HAWK helicopter production. PZL Mielec is today building and exporting the world-renowned S-70i Black Hawk for international customers.

Barriers


Poland has the same duty schedule as the European Union. For the majority of aerospace products, there are no custom duties. The exact schedule can be seen at:
http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_duties/index_en.htm


There is a 23% VAT tax in Poland, based on CIF value of the product.


Trade Events/Associations


There are no trade events in this sector in Poland at which we would recommend attendance.

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information:


Ms. Barbara Grabowska
Commercial Representative
Barbara.Grabowska@trade.gov
+48 22 625 4374


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