Metal Component Supplier Figeac Aero Adjusts Management

Figeac Aero worker

France-based Figeac Aero specializes in the production of light alloy and hard metal parts, such as fuselage frames and turbofan blades.

Credit: Figeac Aero

LYON—Figeac Aero, a supplier of metal parts for aircraft and engines, has appointed Thomas Girard as its new COO.

The move comes as the company is striving to solve inflation and supply chain issues, for which Girard’s experience is expected to be instrumental. Effective Sept. 1, Girard is replacing Didier Roux.

Girard most recently served as Figeac Aero’s commercial director. He joined the French company 18 years ago and led purchasing and sales activities, which Figeac says in a statement lends Girard “a thorough understanding of the aeronautical ecosystem that is particularly critical in the current context.” 

The appointment follows Figeac Aero’s decision to improve integration of its purchasing, production and commercial functions under a single supervisor, the company said. That individual should therefore have the operational leverage to meet the current challenges of inflation and supply tensions, it added.

“We remain cautious about the ongoing short-term challenges, such as passing inflation on to our prices, managing lead times and procurement, and recruitment,” Chairman and CEO Jean-Claude Maillard said in July, when Figeac Aero released its financial performance for fiscal 2022/23, which ended March 31.

The southwest France-based company has seen its payroll decrease in recent years. Figeac’s headcount decreased to 2,400 as of March 31, down from 3,000 employees prior to the pandemic.

Now in a hiring phase, Figeac Aero is struggling to find the right candidates and fill open positions. “In a couple of years, we will have solved our raw material procurement problems and found our staff,” Maillard said on France Bleu radio in June at the Paris Air Show. “We cannot deliver as fast as OEMs wish, but we deliver,” he added.

Capacity utilization stood near 70%, as of early July. Source diversification has given positive results in material procurement. Deploying an in-house training center is expected to contribute to solving the hiring conundrum, among other initiatives.

As for inflation, a significant share has been passed on to customers, the company said.

Figeac is on track to return to pre-COVID revenue levels, Maillard said. At €342 million ($373 million), revenues increased 21% (14% on an organic basis). Growth was driven by rising production rates in the aerostructures and aeroengines division, which accounts for most of Figeac’s business.

Revenues were still far from those recorded for fiscal 2019/20, which stood at €447 million. For fiscal 2023/24, Figeac is expecting revenues between €375-390 million. For fiscal 2024/25, revenues between €420-440 million are predicted. In the longer term, Figeac predicts annual growth in the 5-10% range.

Specializing in the production of light alloy and hard metal parts such as fuselage frames and turbofan blades, Figeac has factories in France, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Tunisia, and the U.S. Airbus is the largest customer.

Figeac will release earnings for its fiscal 2023/24 first quarter on Sept. 6.

Thierry Dubois

Thierry Dubois has specialized in aerospace journalism since 1997. An engineer in fluid dynamics from Toulouse-based Enseeiht, he covers the French commercial aviation, defense and space industries. His expertise extends to all things technology in Europe. Thierry is also the editor-in-chief of Aviation Week’s ShowNews.