In New Territory

Safran will build a new plant in India to make parts for the LEAP engine

Yunus Dar

It has been a significant run for the French-based Safran at the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru. To start with, the company’s chief executive officer Philippe Petitcolin and chief minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao announced that Safran Aircraft Engines would build a new plant in Hyderabad to make parts for the LEAP turbofan engine from CFM International.

Safran’s LEAP engine

Supported by the Telangana state, Safran will invest 36 million euros in this new plant, which will cover 13,000 square metres (140,400 sq. ft.), including 8,000 square metres (86,400 sq. ft.) of workshops, in the Special Economic Zone of GMR near the airport. The construction is set to kick off in June 2019 and will aim at building and producing the first parts in early 2020.

The plant will have about 50 employees by the end of the year to launch operations and will reach a workforce of 300. Safran has chosen the GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL) to base its plant to manufacture aircraft engines parts for LEAP turbofan engine.

“We’re delighted to open a new chapter in our long history with the Indian aerospace industry, thus reasserting Safran’s commitment to our ‘Make in India’ strategy,” said Philippe Petitcolin. “Aerospace continues to be a significant driver of India’s growth, and we want to fully support this dynamic by bolstering our investments and training programmes in the country,” he added.

The Telangana chief minister also expressed his happiness with the development, he said, “we are delighted that Safran has selected Hyderabad to establish its Safran Aircraft Engines manufacturing plant, thus joining the league of other global OEMs who are already manufacturing and exporting from Telangana.”

“Aerospace is a focus industrial sector for Telangana and the state government is providing maximum support to encourage the industry,” he added.

Commenting on the development business, chairman, airports, GMR Group GBS Raju said Safran’s presence adds great value to the niche aerospace cluster which GMR is developing at Hyderabad Airport City. The agreement besides giving GMR an opportunity to develop the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the company, also paves the way for the Telangana state government’s aggressive efforts towards turning Hyderabad into India's new aerospace and defence manufacturing destination.”

When the plant hits cruise speed in 2023, it will be able to deliver 15,000 parts per year to support the LEAP’s sustained production rate. CFM is set to deliver 1,800 engines this year, rising to 2,000 starting in 2020. The new-generation LEAP entered service in 2016 and powers more than 700 Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX commercial airliners, including 54 operated by Indian airlines.

Safran has operated in India for some 65 years, and now has over 600 employees at seven companies which provide design, production and support services for aerospace and defence, plus a maintenance training centre in Hyderabad for CFM engines. Opened in 2010, this centre can train more than 500 technicians a year.

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