French aerospace company Safran on Tuesday announced that it was going to invest 36 million euros in Telangana to build a turbine component manufacturing facility for its advanced LEAP commercial jet engines.
The new plant, set to come up near an electric wiring facility the company set up last year in GMR Special Economic Zone near the airport, will start production in early 2020, according to Safran chief executive officer Philippe Petitcolin.
Speaking to the media during his brief stop over at Hyderabad on his way to the Bengaluru Air Show, Petitcolin said that the new investment was completely outside the defence offset opportunity. He added that the company had found Hyderabad to be the right place to start the operations as it seeks to create a competitive environment for building the LEAP engine. He noted that Safran's suppliers might also establish their operations in Hyderabad if everything turned out to be as expected.
The plant will have about 50 employees by the end of the year to launch operations, and will eventually have a workforce of 300. When the plant hits cruise speed in 2023, it will be able to deliver 15,000 parts per year to support LEAP's sustained production, according to the company. The new generation LEAP is believed to be the fastest selling engine in the history of aviation.
Engine building is the core activity of the $25 billion Safran group, which supplies engines to Boeing 737s exclusively, apart from catering partly to other Boeing models and also to Airbus A320s, according to its CEO. "This is just a beginning. We will scale up our operations as we move ahead in this very city if everything goes right. We have got an order for 15,000 LEAP Engines, which in itself is sufficient for the next 7-8 years," he said.
In India, Safran also has two manufacturing joint ventures with public sector HAL in Bengaluru for other products.
By announcing the aircraft engine manufacturing facility in the city, Safran has joined other global OEMs who are already manufacturing and exporting from Telangana, said chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao.
According to Safran Aircraft Engine CEO Olivier Andries, locating this new plant in India reflects the company's strategy of developing a global supply chain to support the fast-paced ramp-up in LEAP production.