European aerospace group EADS opened a plant in Ghimbav, central Romania, on July 12, presenting it as a "milestone" in the group's expansion.
The plant is operated by Premium AEROTEC, an EADS subsidiary.
"Romania is of high importance for EADS and its strategic objectives," EADS executive chairman Louis Gallois said.
The facility, specializing in metal components for all Airbus series programs (A320 family, A330 and A380), has so far manufactured about 250,000 parts and is planning to reach an annual production of 1.3 million parts, Premium AEROTEC CEO Dieter Meiners said.
Investment in the plant, currently employing about 300 people, totals 40 million euros (US$$55.4 million).
"Romania is the country in Europe -- besides our home countries where we have invested the most over the past years," Gallois said, refering to France, Germany, Spain and Britain.
This cooperation, going back to the 1970s, when EADS's subsidiary Eurocopter first invested in Romania, will continue, he added.
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) plans to establish a worldwide center of excellence for civil and military maintenance, repair and overhaul and to integrate Eurocopter Romania into Eurocopter's global supply chain. "But we can do more together. Securing the Eurocopter Romania shareholder agreement could give the ground to contemplate prospects for a new assembly line" in Ghimbav, Gallois said.
Eurocopter started producing Alouette helicopters jointly with the IAR aircraft maker in Ghimbav in 1973. But plans to buy the plant set up in 1925 failed when no agreement was found with the Romanian government in 2008.
"Romania is one of the few countries in central and eastern Europe to have a significant aerospace and defense industry," Gallois said.
"We will strengthen our roots by integrating Romania's industry within European structures. This will help us place Europe's aeronautics industry on a higher international level and improve our global competitiveness."
Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, has low labor costs.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011