Aviation industry in the Netherlands

The economy and welfare of the Netherlands is inextricably linked to aviation. Although a small country, its strong international orientation and highly developed level of expertise has led to its having a strong aircraft industry delivering products for virtually every aeroplane that is currently flying or being built.

During the 20th century, 1600 airliners were built by the Dutch and its national carrier KLM has been in operation since 1919. Every year, more than 60 million passengers fly from Schiphol Airport to 330 destinations. The Netherlands has a leading position in Europe in the area of airport innovation and logistics and, associated with that, also a thriving industry in aircraft maintenance.

In addition to its strong position in civil aviation, the Netherlands is also a partner in the development of the F35 and parts of this military aircraft are produced in this country.

Dutch aviation landscape

The aviation industry is spread across the Netherlands, although concentrated in regions where aviation is considered an economic focal point. These regions are complimentary to one another because they each focus on a unique aspect of the aviation industry. For example, the Amsterdam region focuses mainly on MRO for large commercial aircraft, the Brabant region on maintenance for military aircraft, and the Limburg region on regional jets. The manufacturing industry is also spread across the Netherlands with concentrations in the provinces of South Holland, Brabant and Overijssel. These regions are closely linked due to the short distances between them plus excellent transport connections and the Netherlands can be regarded as a single European Aerospace region.

Development—Science & Technology

The Dutch aviation industry owes their leading position in the market to the continuous development in Science & Technology from which emerge products and services that improve their customers’ end results. This development is due to a strong ecosystem that incorporates education, research institutes and supporting facilities for prototyping and testing. In addition, start-ups in the aviation industry play an increasing role in the ground-breaking innovations within the sector.

Some examples:

  • The TU Delft (Technical University Delft) has the largest aerospace engineering facility in Europe.
  • ESTEC is the European research centre for the European Space Agency.
  • The Dutch Aerospace Centre (NLR) is the national research centre which houses, among other things, the wind-tunnels in which aircraft from throughout the world are tested.
  • YES!Delft has 4th place in Europe as a start-up incubator.
  • The Netherlands has the world’s 5th most competitive economy.



With a committed government, an open attitude towards cooperation, and a growing knowledge-based ecosystem, this sector aims to realise the following ambitions:

To double in size in the field of aircraft construction—this to be achieved partly through the acquisition of new aircraft platforms and/or higher tier levels in the supply chain, but also at subsystem levels, particularly in emerging economies.

To be in the forefront of Electrification of aviation: in aircraft systems and in airport operation.

To acquire a leading position in the global market for aircraft maintenance, partly through the development of revolutionary maintenance concepts to meet the needs of aircraft users.

  • To achieve a hub position in the field of component and systems maintenance.
  • To be the number one specialist in aircraft materials for the global aviation industry.
  • To contribute to climate-neutral aviation by 2050 through innovative solutions for cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft and through more environment-friendly maintenance concepts.
  • To be the largest airport technology supplier in the world.