The Dutch military and civil aviation industry is transparent, making it relatively easy to identify the key players. Nevertheless, U.S. and other foreign companies should consider working with a local representative in order to take advantage of upcoming opportunities in a timely manner. Although competition is strong, U.S. and other foreign suppliers with advanced technology and a good price/quality ratio can expect to do well in the Netherlands. It is a fact that the Dutch are internationally focused and there is a strong cultural and business relationship between The Netherlands and the US.
It is important to work with a local partner or to consider opening a local sales office. A reputable agent with good contacts can provide important and timely information, which is often not readily available through public sources. In addition, in light of complicated tender and import procedures, it can be
challenging to beat the competition and sell effectively without a competent agent. Companies choosing local representatives can expect to benefit from their knowledge of the market, local technical expertise, existing customer base, local marketing and sales experience, and services such as installation,maintenance, training, and after-sales service.
The Dutch are receptive to U.S. made aviation products, which are well known for their innovative quality. Price, quality and after-sales service are the dominant purchasing factors in addition to compliance to EU regulations.
Current Market Trends
World Class Maintenance, formerly known as Maintenance Valley, was established to support and stimulate the national aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector. This initiative aims to take the Netherlands to the top as a center for state-of-the-art industrial maintenance, logistical processes, and repair in both civil and military aviation. One of the important hotspots for aviation is Aviolanda, based close to on one of the largest military air force bases in the Netherlands and the adjacent civilian premises where Stork Fokker has one of its large manufacturing plants and aircraft service centers. In addition to the air force base, the military premises include the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s training institute, the logistics center, and it the meteorological service.
The demand for U.S. military and civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts have fluctuated throughout the years. The rise in statistics reflect aircraft and parts replacement. The decline in exports represent economic downturns or a period immediately following a major purchase/replacement. Due to economic conditions and the rising cost of new aircraft, private owners and airlines are less inclined to replace their fleet. Instead, they tend to choose for aircraft life extension through major maintenance and repair work.
Innovative, high tech products that will help the Dutch maintain and improve its competitive position has great potential. The Dutch are looking for partnerships in innovation and development in the fields of MRO, specifically the areas of electronics; assembly; development and production of parts; training and education; certification; logistics; knowledge dissemination; and publicity. Innovations in the field of electrical systems, corrosion treatment, and composite maintenance and
avionics will also be well-received.
Although the Netherlands is not a helicopter OEM market, there is some helicopter activity. There are six heliports across the country in the cities of Rotterdam (Maasvlakte Heliport), Emmen, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Ede, and one is under construction in The Hague (Ypenburg).
The Royal Netherlands Air Force expands his fleet with CH47 in the coming years. This means that there will many opportunities in all kind of activities related to rotary wing.
Another growth is expected in the area of law enforcement. Currently, the national police fleet is comprised of six Eurocopter EC-135 and two AgustaWestlands. The ANWB Medical Air Assistance (a subsidiary of the Dutch traffic, transport and roadside assistance organization ANWB) owns and operates all six trauma helicopters, which are of the Eurocopter EC-135 model as well.