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Summary of the aeronautics and aerospace industry sector

- Sectors: Vehicle manufacturing, Aviation and Space technology

Although the aeronautics industry has long and distinguished traditions in Hungary, as a consequence of administrative restrictions imposed before the change of system the revival of the industry only really got underway after 1990. Today, the sector is one of the most dynamically developing in Hungary and is capable of showing concrete, palpable results.

The modern Hungarian aerospace industry is made up of a total of 70-75 export-oriented enterprises. Within these there are 40 internationally recognized high-tech development, manufacturing and research companies with extensive business relations and references; they are recognized as suppliers to the Hungarian defence industry as well. These companies represent the elite of the sector generating high added value products.

The aerospace industry represents the pinnacle of technology, with virtually the totality of industries arranged beneath it – materials technology, precision mechanics, electronics, IT technology, plastics technology, chemicals etc. It is a knowledge-intensive sector capable of producing one of the highest added values and with return indicators far in excess of other areas. The level of development of the aerospace industry is an accurate gauge of a country’s state of development and competitiveness.

The leading domestic aerospace and electronics companies mainly target export markets (EU, USA, India, Korea, Indonesia), and their presence around the world also enhances the excellent reputation of Hungarian high-tech. It is a branch with a capacity to “uptake” numerous EU and American R&D financial resources deriving from non-structural funds: Hungarian companies are currently participating in 12 FP6 and 14 FP7 projects.

The aeronautical and aerospace industry covers a diversified sector. Every one of the market players arrived from the electronics, ITC, metalworking, automotive or plastics industries, partly because of the narrowing of opportunities in their traditional sectors and partly driven by the likelihood of achieving greater profits. The R&D activities of universities and university spin-offs are numerous and important. It is classified as a primary funded sector by the Ministry of National Economy (acquisition of AS 9100 classification).

Since the revenue of market players deriving from the aeronautics industry is only a fraction of their total turnover, we can only estimate the total aerospace export volume. The sector’s export volume is reckoned to be EUR 140 million, within which a significant proportion is represented by the multinational corporations (Lufthansa Technik, GE Aviation). The number of people employed in the sector exceeds 2300. Here it is worth mentioning that the Hungarian aerospace industry remains an emerging, upward moving and small industry.

By 2009 the sector, operating in the background, had reached the point where (with the exception of two companies working totally from own resources) we were able to appear at the AeroFriedrichshafen exhibition on a display area of 730 sqm with four aircraft, a 100 and a 1000 HP hydroplane, a coaxial drive helicopter, two hang-glider “trikes” and a UAV reconnaissance plane, as well as several pieces of high-tech electronics equipment, much to the surprise of competitors.

The aeronautics sector comprises 60-65 components manufacturing and supplier companies as well as the following machinery manufacturers:

  • AvanaAerospace Kft, 7-seater hydroplanes,
  • Idea Aircraft, 2-seater hydroplanes,
  • Halley Kft, sport aircraft and motorized hang-gliders,
  • CorvusAircraft Kft, 2- and 4-seater sport aircraft,
  • Dióferr Kft, 1- and 2-seater helicopters,
  • BHE Bonn Hungary Kft, UAV aircraft.

The aerospace sector comprises 12-15 Hungarian companies, research institutes and university spin-off companies. The results and skills of Hungarian companies tested on the Russian Intercosmos, Vega 1 and 2, Rosetta, MarsExpress and VenusExpress NASA, ESA projects have been rewarded with international recognition from the industry. The skills of Hungarian aerospace companies are extremely broad: Hungary’s companies are competitive in 20 of the 26 categories of the European Science Technology Master Plan (ESTMP). Within the 60 existing topics, we register 29 as “competencies” and 31 as “areas of interest”.

Hungary’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) would give great impetus to the development of the space industry sector.

Sector consultant: András Wittek