European aircraft maker Airbus inaugurated a 2.2 billion forint (EUR 5.4m) helicopter parts plant in Gyula, in south-eastern Hungary, on Thursday. Addressing the inauguration, László Palkovics, the minister of technology and industry, called the plant’s obtainment of a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) permit a “historic moment”, saying that “not many countries have such a licence.” The plant will allow the city of Gyula to have a high-tech industry again, Palkovics said, adding that Airbus Helicopters was the first company that could help make military industrial concepts in Hungary a reality.
The minister noted that the government had decided to embark on a 220 billion forint military technology upgrade scheme. And on Wednesday, the government earmarked a further 250 billion forints for defence industry developments, paving the way for more partnerships and investments, he added. Defence ministry state secretary Gáspár Maróth said: “From today on there’ll be no Airbus helicopters without Gyula.” Maróth said the government on Wednesday approved a ten-point plan to recover from the current crisis, one of which was military industry development and another to boost foreign capital inflows. He said Airbus was one of Europe’s leading defence industry companies, adding that the government’s 30% share in Airbus Helicopters Hungary meant it had a “personal stake” in the company’s success. Airbus Helicopters Hungary managing director Andreas Stöckle noted that the agreement to build the plant was signed four years ago, while the joint venture between Airbus and the state of Hungary was set up two years ago, and the EASA permit was issued last Friday. Though not everything is ready yet, production can get under way, “which is the most important day in the life of a plant”, he said. Construction of the plant began in December 2020. The 13,000sqm plant will make high precision metallic elementary parts for the dynamic systems of helicopters. The Gyula factory will serve as the sole point of supply of such parts for the entire Airbus family.