Marwan Lahoud, chairman of France's GIFAS industry trade group, said airliner sales will continue to outpace revenue from fighter jets and other military sources. (Eric Piermont/AFP)
PARIS — Sales in French civil aerospace in 2013 not only outweighed the military side, but airliner sales will continue to outpace revenue from fighter jets, UAVs and missiles, said Marwan Lahoud, chairman of a major French industry trade body.
“Seventy-five percent of sales, 84 percent of orders come from the civil side,” Lahoud said Monday at a news conference on annual sales for the Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS).
“Civil is preponderant and not only is civil preponderant, when civil orders are higher relative to sales, it will continue to shift to the civil side,” he said.
Asked about the importance of dual-use technology for civil and military applications, Lahoud said, “all of it is [dual].
“It’s a question of time scale. If you look at the history of aeronautics, since the beginning of the 20th century, all that was made for the military went over to the civil.
“Today, all that is developed for the civil goes over to the military. I am far from one who separates the technology. All technology is dual use. It’s an industry that is essentially dual use.”
Annual sales for France’s aerospace industry rose to €47.9 billion (US $66.2 billion), up 9 percent from a year ago, with civil aviation up 8.3 percent to €36.2 billion and defense gaining 11.4 percent to €11.7 billion.
Orders rose 49 percent to €73.1 billion. The orders hit a “new record figure,” Lahoud said.
Civil and defense accounted for 83 percent and 17 percent of orders, respectively. The split between civil and military sales was 76 percent and 24 percent.
“The military market advanced due to the French market, which benefited from a healthy implementation of the military budget, as well as a strong increase in export deliveries,” GIFAS said in a statement.
Total aeronautical exports rose to €30.4 billion, up 11.4 percent, and accounted for 79 percent of total sales.
The financial figures cover aeronautical systems, equipment, platforms and motors.
After recent booming employment, industry expects to enter a holding pattern.
The trade body expects companies this year to recruit 10,000 staff in 2014, down from 13,000 in 2013, of which 6,000 were new positions rather than replacements. There were no details of expected new posts this year.
This year, 6,000 students on a course with work experience have been hired, up 8 percent from 2013. Some 300 young employees are to be offered apprenticeships shared between large companies and the small- and medium-sized firms.
Regarding government tax credits offered for spending on research and development, the GIFAS members account for 20 percent of the national R&D but only received 10 percent, worth €500 million, of the total tax credits, Lahoud said.
Lahoud is chief strategy and marketing officer at the Airbus group. ■