Airbus to suspend investment in Brassó factory

Airbus, the aircraft manufacturing company, might suspend the construction of its helicopter factory near Brassó/ Brașov, as the Romanian Government did not show any interest in it. Olivier Michalon, Head of Europe at Airbus Helicopters, told a Romanian newspaper last week that the company already invested EUR 10 million (out of 15 million) in the project, but now it is considering moving the factory to another country if no agreement is made with the Romanian Government. The company needs a concrete offer from them in order to start the production.

Airbus started the construction of the factory in 2016. The plant is intended for the production of H215M helicopters and is located in Vidombák/Ghibav. According to Michalon, they never got a specific offer from the Romanian authorities regarding the start of the production. Airbus states that the Romanian Government made promises to buy several helicopters from the company, but in two years the parties could not make an agreement, and the government refused to negotiate with Airbus.

For the factory to be profitable, the company needed an order from the Government for at least 16 helicopters – they made this clear three years ago. But the Romanian authorities announced that they will only buy 5-7 helicopters, which does not justify the investment. The factory would then be useless, and only maintenance could be done there.

As local news portal Transindex.ro reports, in August 2017 French President Emmanuel Macron met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest, and they confirmed that the project will continue.

We were very optimistic, but nothing has changed since then, Michalon said. He also mentioned that in 2016 there were three other countries interested in the factory, but Airbus chose Romania. If the company and the government cannot reach an agreement, Airbus will move the factory, he added.

Title image: According to plans, H215M helicopters would have been produced in the Romanian plant

Author: Orsi Sarány