Aerospace firms from both sides of the border aiming to cut deals at the Paris Airshow this week.
The week-long biennial event is considered Europe’s premier aerospace trade fair and is expected to attract 2,000 companies and 500,000 visitors.
Organised by the French aerospace industry, the Airshow demonstrates military and civilian aircraft as well as new services and products to potential customers.
More than 160 companies employ 7,500 people in the aerospace industry in the Republic.
Irish firms traditionally specialise in maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, engines and components as well as airline call centres, software development and telecommunications.
Firms being represented at Paris include Aircraft Management Technologies, Botany Weaving, Eire Composites, Fexco Merchant Services, Magellan Aviation Services Ltd, Parallel Graphics Ltd and Parc Aviation.
Companies from the North include Bombardier, Queens University Belfast, BASE 2000, Huddleston, Maydown, Moyola & Langford Lodge, Datum Tool Design and Denroy Plastics.
Enterprise Ireland expert Jim Lawler said the Airshow presents a major opportunity for companies to meet potential suppliers and customers and to see the latest developments in the sector.
“Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland will participate in a number of joint networking opportunities highlighting the full capability that exists in the aerospace sector on the entire island of Ireland.”
Major international manufacturers, as well as the military forces of several countries will be attending this year’s event.
At the Airshow in 2005, Airbus unveiled its A380 prototype – the largest passenger airliner in the world.
One of Ireland’s firms participating is Botany Weaving, the second largest supplier of aircraft seat fabric in the world and also a leading manufacturer of carpets, leather and curtains and blankets.
The company supplies Boeing and Airbus and many of the world’s leading airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Northwest Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Air Canada, United Airlines, Air India, Air France and SIA.
Magellan Aviation Services Ltd sells, leases and manages aircraft, engines, and spare parts for over 250 customers in 50 countries.
There is expected to be no ministerial representation from either the Irish Government or the Stormont Assembly at the Airshow, at Le Bourget outside Paris.
Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland will be holding joint networking events. The agencies have been co-operating closely since the resumption of the Stormont Assembly in May.
Last month they launched a new cross-border business incubation programme to help entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland and the six border counties.
The intensive year-long project, which begins in September, provides expertise, contacts and networks to establish successful export-oriented businesses.