Safran To Double Leap Engine Blade Production In China
SINGAPORE—Safran Aircraft Engines says it will double Leap engine blade production in China as it officially opens a new factory at its Guiyang facility.
The French manufacturer says CFM International, Safran's joint venture with GE Aerospace, is preparing for a global manufacturing ramp-up of the high-bypass turbofan engines. Safran welcomed the new capabilities into operation at a ceremony on Sept. 1 at the Shawen Park facility.
Safran says in a statement that it has invested $30 million into the new facility, which features "machineries dedicated to the manufacturing (lost-wax casting) of the low-pressure turbine blades, vanes and seals for CFM56 and Leap engines."
The existing Guiyang facility, where Safran has been making engines since 2006, reported revenues of $23 million in 2022, Safran says. The engine-maker expects the site's turnover to hit $40 million following the opening of the second phase of the new plant.
Eighty new workers have been hired in Guiyang over the past two years, Safran says. There are now 210 staff at the site and Safran is targeting a workforce of 250 there by the end of 2023.
“This important milestone of Safran’s development in China also further reflects our confidence and long-term commitment to the country, which is one of the world’s most dynamic aviation markets, and to Guiyang, which has gradually formed a development pattern led by the agglomeration of equipment manufacturing industry over the years,” Safran CEO Jean-Paul Alary says.
The Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery database shows there are 449 Leap-powered airliners currently in service, with 1,079 on order—the majority of which are Airbus A320neo-family aircraft. During the period of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, China pivoted to Airbus narrowbody equipment, with the "big three" of Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines placing a massive 292 aircraft order in September 2022, outstripping their MAX order book.