US company plans to increase investment and sales in Europe after admitting it has "not done a good job" in the past

Honeywell is finalising a strategy to deepen its penetration of the European aerospace market and aims to grow annual sales to the continent's aircraft manufacturers by at least $1 billion in the long term.

The US company's studies have determined that this figure is achievable if it can raise its content level on aircraft produced by Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter and others to that already achieved on those produced by US manufacturers such as Boeing, Gulfstream and Bell.

The avionics, engine and environmental systems supplier admits it "has not done a good job" in the past of getting close to European aircraft manufacturers and governments, and has lost market share as a result.

Eric Hinson, Honeywell aerospace vice-president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and the CIS, says implementation of the strategy will begin later this year. Last year Honeywell's aerospace divisions recorded sales of around $1.4 billion in its EMEA & CIS division, out of a global figure of $8.8 billion.

Hinson says the first step toward achieving this long-term aim is to improve communication with the region's original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which has suffered from the company's focus on US airframers. "It's a question of resources - we had a company that had enough overall growth potential in the USA not to worry about Europe," says Hinson. He adds that many existing contracts with European manufacturers, especially those involving avionics, have relied on the technical aspects of its products rather than being a result of a developed relationship. Honeywell is to offer quarterly technology review meetings to all its potential customers in an attempt to understand their requirements earlier in the development phase, he says.

Honeywell is a tier-one supplier to Airbus and Dassault Aviation, but has limited contact with smaller OEMs. Its propulsion systems unit has fared particularly badly from its absence from development teams, says Hinson, with turboshaft markets a priority. "We recognise that Eurocopter is happy with its current engine suppliers, but we need to do a better job in addressing its future needs."

As well as increasing direct contact with manufacturers, Honeywell, which has 250 research engineers based in Europe, plans to increase its participation in lucrative EC-funded aerospace research projects, many of which lead to supplier subcontracts with the airframe prime contractor, says Hinson. "We are exploring the rules to see whether all of the research has to be carried out in Europe to qualify."


Source: Flight International