France - Country Commercial Guide
Civil Aircraft and Parts (AIR)
Last published date:


Total Market Size: Civil Aviation










Total Market Size





Total Local Production





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Exchange Rate 1 Euro

USD 1.12


USD 1.18

USD 1.09

(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Figures in USD billions. Sources:  GIFAS, USDoC, French Customs.  Note: French Customs figures are quoted in CIF (HS 8802 + 8803), USDoC figures are quoted in FAS.  * Indicates unofficial estimates based on various industry sources. Year to year figures subject to currency fluctuations.

Reported revenue for the French civil aerospace industry in 2021 grew slightly to €35.66 billion (source: GIFAS - USD 42 billion), out of total non-consolidated aerospace and defense revenues of €55.2 billion - an increase over 2020. The aerospace and defense industry exported approximately 68% of its consolidated turnover, and the civil sector represents 69% of revenues.  Orders in 2021 increased by 68% over 2020, a very encouraging signal.

The French civil aerospace industry is expected to return to 2019 levels of activity somewhere between 2023 and 2025.  2022 and 2023 will remain unsettled for the sector; however, production should ramp-up to pre-Covid levels by mid-2023 and surpass those levels soon after. Demand for new aircraft is expected to grow at about +3% per year over the next 20 years.

Five aircraft manufacturers account for most of the French market: Airbus (large commercial aircraft), Airbus Helicopters, Dassault Aviation (high-end business jets), ATR (passenger and cargo turboprop aircraft for regional transport, an Airbus JV with Italian firm Leonardo), and Daher (TBM and Kodiak light aircraft and business turboprops). There is also a growing ecosystem of small manufacturers offering light electric or hybrid aircraft or vehicles suited for urban air mobility.

Because of the breadth and depth of the aerospace industry in France, U.S. manufacturers often decide to use the services of a distributor or agent to reach out to many potential customers. It is generally 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. In France, it is normal business practice 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 be prepared to invest significantly in their business development process over extended periods before generating any orders. AS9100/ISO 9001 certification would be considered the minimum requirement for doing business in the aerospace supply chain in France.

Leading Sub-Sectors

A significant technology shift is taking place in aerospace in France – to move to producing a zero emissions aircraft by 2035 and full carbon neutrality across the industry by 2050 — a very ambitious goal.  It is usually new aircraft development driving new design and technology requirements, which creates opportunities for potential suppliers.

The best prospects for American firms in this market continue to be those associated with the manufacturing of new aircraft or engine models or very technical products.  Disruptive hydrogen or electric propulsion energy technologies applied to aircraft and any products or technologies that allow an aircraft to use less energy, including lighter or more fully optimized onboard equipment, new light-weight materials, or more intelligent flight management systems, should do well.


Typically, the French aerospace market provides many opportunities but is considered highly competitive.  Potential new suppliers must target the right tier and understand clearly what their value-added is compared to those already in place in the supply chain and must understand they will be competing with companies from around the world, not just in France.  Many major French firms like Safran, Airbus, or Dassault are all present in the U.S. and have sourcing offices, which may be an easier path to receiving OEM approval.

Future aircraft will increasingly include more electric systems on board. Airbus and ATR are looking to move to hydrogen as a primary fuel and are considering other technologies such as hybrid electric or sustainable aircraft fuel (SAF) options in the interim.  The decision on which technology to pursue to achieve a narrow body carbon-neutral aircraft should be made in 2025, for a launch in 2027-2028 and entry into service by 2035.  Airbus is looking to field a successor to the A320 or perhaps a regional aircraft, and other French manufacturers are considering hydrogen-fueled rotorcraft and business jets. Other technologies of interest include Enhanced Vision Systems, autonomous systems, and specialty materials.

It is important to keep in mind that beyond French-made aircraft, French equipment suppliers are also working globally on Embraer, Pilatus, Comac, Mitsubishi Aircraft, etc., as well as all the major U.S. aircraft manufacturers.  However, entering the French market requires patience, investment, innovative products, and competitive pricing.


Aeromart Toulouse Supply Chain Business to Business Meetings


Paris Air Show


French Aerospace Industries Association GIFAS

Contact: U.S. Embassy - U.S. Commercial Service Commercial Specialist: - Tel: +33 (0)1 43 12 70 79