Safran to open aerospace manufacturing facility at Mobile Aeroplex

Safran to open aerospace manufacturing facility at Mobile Aeroplex
Paris-based Safran's manufacturing facility in Mobile will produce aircraft engine nacelle systems, which house an aircraft engine and its related components. (Contributed)

French aerospace giant Safran plans to open a manufacturing operation at Mobile Aeroplex — home to the Airbus A320 Family assembly line — and hire 20 employees over the next three years, according to the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

The company will produce and install aircraft engine nacelles at this facility. Paris-based Safran is one of the world’s two leading integrators of aircraft engine nacelle systems, which house an aircraft engine and its related components.

“Safran is excited to be part of the growing aerospace community in Mobile,” said Peter Lengyel, president and CEO of Safran USA. “We are pleased to move forward with this investment in Mobile.”

To house the facility, the Mobile Airport Authority is building out one of the existing bays at Mobile Aeroplex to 24,500 square feet, according to the Chamber. In addition, the company is investing approximately $1 million in equipment, with an opening planned for November.

Safran is the 19th company to locate at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley since Airbus launched production in Alabama, said Mayor Sandy Stimpson. The company joins a growing list of aerospace companies with a strong presence in Mobile, with examples including VT MAE, Continental Motors and MAAS Aviation.

“We are pleased and proud to welcome Safran to the family of aerospace companies choosing to invest in Mobile,” Stimpson said. “Mobile is open for business, and our future has never been brighter.”

The Mobile delegation talks strategy during a planning session at the 2017 Paris Air Show. A deal to bring a Safran manufacturing facility to Mobile was finalized during the show. (Contributed)

Air Show connection

The announcement comes two months after a high-level delegation from Mobile met with Safran USA’s executives at the Paris Air Show.

“It’s exciting to see Team Mobile once again successfully recruit another world-class aviation and aerospace industry partner to our area,” Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson said.

The Mobile Area Chamber said discussions to locate the facility in Mobile were finalized at a meeting in Paris that included Safran USA decision-makers, Stimpson, Hudson and Mobile Airport Authority’s Mark McVay.

“Safran is yet another worldwide company in the aerospace industry to call Mobile home. Their manufacturing presence within our aerospace hub will continue to pay dividends in our future recruitment efforts in the industry,” said David Rodgers, a senior project manager who led the recruitment efforts for the Chamber.

Airbus invested $600 million to open its first U.S. manufacturing facility at Alabama’s Mobile Aeroplex. It soon will be joined by a Safran facility that will manufacture the housing for aircraft engines. (Contributed)

Aerospace expansion

Safran’s announcement comes amid a growth spurt for the Alabama aerospace sector. In 2016, aerospace firms announced projects involving $260 million in new capital investment and 2,000 jobs, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data.

This year has brought a string of high-profile aerospace announcements from companies such as Blue Origin, Leonardo and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“Alabama is involved in virtually every aspect of the aerospace industry, from R&D activities and raw material production to aircraft assembly and component fabrication,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“This puts the state in a prime position for sustained growth in a dynamic industry.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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