Current Market Trends
Subsector Focus: Helicopters
Population: 21.3 million
GDP USD: USD 184 billion
Romania’s aerospace market is a mixture of civil and military. Starting with 2014, opportunities for foreign aircraft and parts manufacturers are related to the Fighter aircraft program: Present and future, multi-annual military expenditure will be focused on replacing the aging fleet of MiG-21 aircraft. To comply with NATO standards, the Romanian Air Force has bought 12 refurbished Air Force F-16 Block 25 fighters, totaling some $1.3 billion.
By 2020, Romania needs to comply with NATO standards and requirements, in terms of the Army Logistics modernization, especially to cover electronic warfare programs and replace the current obsolete multi-role platforms. A major task for the Romanian Air Force is to provide a significant amount of modern airlift capacity to NATO/ally troops.
Romania’s aerospace industry already operates in both the civil and defense markets and is important for maintaining Romania’s strategic defense capability. The civil aviation sector is growing. With 16 civilian airports, Romania has significant infrastructure capacity given current air traffic demand; however, airports still need to be modernized and equipped to respond to international standards of safety and security. There are a number of opportunities for procurement of security equipment. The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has recently updated the airports’ security modernization program, in which U.S. companies played an integral role.
TAROM is Romania's flag carrier and serves an estimated two and a half million passengers a year. However, Romania has recently experienced significant market penetration from low-cost carriers (higher than 40%), including Wizz Air, Blue Air and Carpatair. TAROM continues to be the only carrier providing services to some ten destinations in the country, in addition to multiple destinations overseas. It is anticipated that, in the future, routes will be predominantly served by low-cost carriers. Moreover, TAROM is considering updating and standardizing its fleet. Together with the Ministry of Transport, the company is working on a business strategy of using single-type modern and economical planes.
The Romanian Air Traffic Services Administration (ROMATSA), a self-financing public enterprise under the authority of the Ministry of Transport, plays a leading role in Romania's aviation sector and is one its most regarded stakeholders, working closely with the Ministry of Transport, civil aviation, the military, airlines and airspace users.
Romania has agreed to make numerous technological improvements - i.e., implementing the Single European Sky ATM Research Program (SESAR) technologies and optimizing Air Traffic Control Centers - in order to create a seamless and unified European and global air traffic control network. As part of this program, Romania joined with Bulgaria in 2004 to create a Functional Airspace Block (FAB) called the Danube FAB.
Romania is also developing an aircraft parts manufacturing and MRO industry. Companies such as Aerostar currently work in the civil sector producing landing gear and wing assemblies and providing MRO services. This sector is expected to provide good opportunities for U.S. firms interested in the market.
The Romanian market is very open to U.S. companies. However, local representation is strongly advised when working in Romania. U.S. companies that have successfully entered the market do so by either establishing a local office or developing local representation agreements. There is high interest from Romanian counterparts to develop such relations.
U.S. companies seeking to sell military equipment to Romania are advised to start with the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) and the U.S. Commercial Service. Together, these offices are well versed in the Romanian military environment and procurement procedures.
Current Market Trends
The Aerospace & Defense (A&D) sector is made up of several medium to large enterprises across a diverse range of specialty and technical businesses that form part of the critical supply chain to the prime companies and assembly operations. The Romanian Ministry of Defense (MoD) allotted more than 35% of the total defense budget to major procurement and modernization programs, which cover: armored vehicles on wheels and tracks, missile systems and rockets, radars for low and medium altitude, C4I systems, and trucks. Even if a significant increase in the Romanian Army Logistics modernization rate, related to the urgent needs to comply with NATO standards and requirements, was planned for the upcoming years, the scarcity of the defense budget has limited acquisitions.
The key Romanian aerospace and defense players are: Aerostar SA Bacau (aircraft and parts manufacturer, which created a joint venture with Stork Fokker Aesp to produce mechanical aircraft components); IAR SA Brasov (Puma helicopter MRO, which in 2002 created a joint venture with Eurocopter (France) to maintain and repair the PUMA, a troop carrier and a tactical support helicopter. IAR also created a joint venture with and Elbit (Israel) in 2004 to produce SOCAT, an upgraded line of PUMA); MFA Mizil (manufacturer specialized in maintenance and repair of chain track armored vehicles); Romaero SA (a Bucharest-based aircraft company, assigned by the Romanian government as the National Center for C-130 Platform Repair and Maintenance Works, meant to bolster NATO’s strategic airlift capability. This year Romaero celebrates 20 years of collaboration with the Boeing Company); Romarm SA (the national group of companies manufacturing a variety of products, including armored vehicles, air defense systems, infantry weapons, ammunition, artillery systems, rockets, powders, and explosives); and Romtehnica SA (a state-owned company and major supplier of consultancy and trading activities with foreign companies on behalf of the MoD).
Romanian companies are vying for potential subcontracting work that may integrate them long-term into the aerospace business. The industry supplies the Boeing 700 series, the Airbus 300 series, and the domestic light aircraft industry. Airport security is managed at a high level by the MoT and implemented at the airport level. There is strong interest by Romanian authorities at both levels to procure security equipment in the near future, including body scanners and explosive detection systems.
While air traffic has steadily increased, forecasts predict further higher traffic demand driven by economic growth in the region, growing ties with the EU, and traditional European tourism and business travelers. Romania enjoys a strong international passenger base of users traveling primarily between Romania and Germany, Austria, the U.S., Israel, Italy, Greece and Turkey. It is estimated that about 60% of international passengers visit the country for tourism. Airports that are expected to experience significant traffic growth in the near future are Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, and Constanta.
ROMATSA is the national certified Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP), designated for the provision of Air Traffic Services (ATS), Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS), Aeronautical Information Services (AIS), Aeronautical Meteorological Services (MET), and Civil Military Coordination. Search and Rescue (SAR) coordination is provided by the Search and Rescue Coordination Centre located at ROMATSA headquarters in Bucharest. ROMATSA also has oversight of air traffic management facilities throughout the country.
Romania has been a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) since 1965, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) since 1996, and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) since 2007.
ROMATSA aims to develop a long-term modernization program of surveillance systems for air traffic services with the technical assistance of Exelis Inc., a specialized U.S. company. Technical assistance for the "Romania: Aviation Surveillance Modernization" has been provided under a U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) grant awarded to ROMATSA in 2012. In accordance with the terms of reference for this technical assistance, a U.S. company developed high-level operational and technical recommendations regarding networked surveillance, communication, and navigation in Romanian airspace that support Local Single Sky Implementation (LSSIP) in line with the ATM Master Plan and developments within the Single European Sky for safe and effective implementation of the Danube FAB. This effort has produced a series of related reports that identified the critical elements of a detailed long-term development plan for future network surveillance and data communications, including a preliminary assessment of developmental and environmental impacts.
TAROM is planning to develop its fleet by using single-type modern and economical planes. Reducing operating costs with more modern planes is one of the carrier’s priorities. After finalizing the future business strategy, TAROM and the MoT will decide which aircraft will be used. TAROM is currently negotiating with both Boeing and Airbus about fleet renewal and maintenance costs. At present TAROM’s fleet includes four A318, four Boeing 737-700, a Boeing 737-800, four Boeing 737, two Airbus A310s and nine ATR aircraft.
There are a number of requirements for procurement of security equipment. Further acquisition needs of body scanners, explosive detection systems, security management systems and cargo security will be internationally tendered, as Romania complies with EU regulations.
There are a number of requirements for specialized training and consulting in the following areas:
Environment - key airlines, the MoT, and other stakeholders are working on developing procedures and programs to reduce CO2, optimize environmental management systems and deal with issues such as bird strikes. Specialized assistance and training would be needed in this area.
Romania's accident investigation sector is now developing. As required by EU regulation, Romania has established an independent accident investigation body. Consulting services in the area of institutional strengthening and training could be required.
A new training center developed by ROMATSA has been certified to provide specific training programs for air traffic controllers and aeronautical meteorologists. Specialized consulting services for curriculum development and training would be required.
Training associated with next generation technologies and air traffic management will also be required.
European companies remain the strongest competitors in the Romanian market. Historical ties with Romania, geographical proximity and knowledge of EU regulations provide some advantages to European competitors. However, there is strong interest in working with U.S. firms.
The main international A&D companies in the Romanian market are: Alenia, Boeing, BAE Systems, Caterpillar Perkins, EADS (Airbus Group), ELBIT, Eurocopter, General Dynamics, Honeywell, IMI Israel, ITT, Iveco, Kollmorgen, Krauss Maffei, Lockheed Martin, Mercedes, Raytheon, Renault, Reihnmetall, SELEX Communications, and Thales.
Romania presents a number of opportunities for U.S. companies in the subsectors of security, safety, environment, aircraft MRO and air traffic control and airspace management. Opportunities for foreign aircraft and parts manufacturers are related to the fighter aircraft program comprising 12 refurbished Air Force F-16 Block 25 fighters.
ROMATSA's plan for modernization would require the implementation of modern airspace management technologies, including ADS-B, WAM, Mode-S radar sensors, and specialized software. Training associated with next generation technologies and air traffic management would also provide opportunities to U.S. firms.
Subsector Focus: Helicopters
Civil Helicopter market: The major players are Airbus Helicopter, AugustaWestland, Bell Helicopter, and Robinson. The Romanian market is an acquisition cost driven market, traditionally tied with Airbus Helicopter, not very active for the moment but with good perspectives. Utility aviation is dominated by the obsolete Ka 26 used for agricultural spraying, offering an opportunity for a different model with low operational and maintenance costs. Issues facing acquisition of helicopters include: lack of financial resources, absence of medium helicopter capabilities, as well as certification of new types and models.
State-owned Helicopter market: Both the Ministry of Interior, Aviation Inspectorate, and the Ministry of Defense participate in this sector. The first structure’s fleet is composed of a few remaining Mi-17 and a fleet of exclusive Airbus helicopters. The second agency needs to replace the older Allouette 3 models used for cadet training and similar missions for light helicopters, and Puma models, close to the end of their lifecycle. The MoD represents a large market but has been dominated by Airbus Helicopter for a decade. The use of European funds also means there may be political pressure to acquire European products. The main candidates for potential tenders are Bell Helicopter, Enstrom Helicopter, and Sikorsky, but they will need government support/approval and assistance to compete with Airbus Helicopter.
There is one main barrier encountered on the Romanian market: the airlines must have the capacity to fulfill European requirements and their certification in the European market EASA. The reliable and recommended solution in such cases is to create a partnership with a local company.
September 2015 | Bucharest, Romania
Since 1999, this semiannual exhibition has enrolled in the international circuit of military service and national defense events. The institutions and organizations involved include the Ministries of Economy, Defense, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Justice; the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Romanian Employers’ Association of Manufacturers of Military Equipment (PATROMIL), and the Romanian Aeronautical Industry Employers’ Organization (OPIAR)
Association of Romanian Aeronautical Companies (OPIAR)
Romanian Business Association of the Military Technique Manufacturers (PATROMIL)
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