Poland is stepping up efforts to involve its troubled aerospace sector in Western industrial integration and plans to join the European Association of Aerospace Industries (AECMA) by early 2001, following the lead of the Czech aviation manufacturers association, which joined in January.

Poland boasts more than 30 aerospace companies, but many are struggling to win contracts, and have sought AECMA's help in securing long-term participation in international projects where they can offer expertise.

These include trainer, light combat and general aviation aircraft, helicopters and air traffic management systems and defence equipment.

The country will benefit from lucrative offset work if it pushes on with its planned supersonic fighter acquisition, although its European credentials may be questioned if it continues to favour the Lockheed Martin F-16 rather than rival offerings from Saab/BAE Systems, Dassault or Eurofighter.

A Warsaw forum last month saw AECMA and Polish industry chiefs discuss links with aerospace projects under way in the European Union, which Poland aims to join. The meeting was attended by representatives of the European Commission, Joint Aviation Authorities and Eurocontrol, and the Polish aviation community was urged to join the various European regulatory, standardisation and quality bodies.

Source: Flight International