Our history

For over 110 years, men and women have rallied around one project: organizing, cooperating and innovating in order to create, develop and promote the French aerospace industry.

GIFAS owes its existence to a shared vision that dates back to the beginning of aerospace.

Fertile sky in France

France has been a standout figure in aerospace since the first flights. 

In 1903, the Wright brothers’ first flight sparked a wave of creativity in France. Designers and adventurers were inspired to take their ideas farther than ever before. Prototypes sprang up all across the country. 

Each new flight was an exciting achievement.

 In the midst of the fervor, Robert Esnault-Pelterie, Louis Blériot, Louis Breguet and Gabriel Voisin decided to break away from the automotive industry and pursue the path of heavier-than-air” flight.

The birth of the French aerospace industry

On 11 January 1908, this group of pioneers met at the Automobile Club of France to examine the possibility of creating a professional union to give “industrial and commercial weight to something that had up until then been considered a sport”.

The proposal to create a professional union for the aerospace industries received unanimous approval, and Albert de Dion was named the first Chairman. 

At the same time, several aircraft manufacturers formed the Association des Industries de la Locomotion Aérienne. In autumn 1909, the latter coordinated the first international aerospace exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris

As the market started to emerge and take shape, particularly as the French Ministry of War placed its first orders, the union and the Association merged. It was then July 1910. 

Robert Esnault-Pelterie and André Granet became respectively the first Chairman and the first General Secretary of the Chambre Syndicale des Industries Aéronautiques.


After several name changes, the name GIFAS was formally adopted on 17 July 1975. The Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS) is a professional trade association that brings together over 400 companies, from large industry contractors and system suppliers to SMEs. 

Together, they constitute a consistent, tightly-linked and ever-evolving high-tech industry specialized in research, development, manufacturing, sales and maintenance for all aerospace programs and equipment, both civilian and military: airplanes, helicopters, engines, UAVs, missiles, satellites and space launchers, defense and security systems, sub-assemblies and related software. 

GIFAS’ strategic and farsighted vision, along with a strong political will, make it the principal ally of the internationally renowned French aerospace industry, which enjoys a leading position in every market segment (passenger planes, business aircraft, helicopters, military aviation, space and defense).

Helping to go further

GIFAS has set itself the task of representing, coordinating, supporting, cooperating with and promoting its members—keeping pace with the dreams and determination that have motivated actors in the international aerospace sector for more than a century.