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New nacelle integration facility to be established near Airbus’ A320 final assembly site in the U.S.


November 30, 2016

The international network of Safran Nacelles’ jet engine nacelle integration facilities is expanding with a new location at Mobile, Alabama to serve the Airbus U.S. manufacturing facility for A320 family jetliners.

This site will perform the podding of CFM International LEAP-1A engines, which involves integrating the turbofan powerplants with Safran Nacelles-supplied nacelle systems, followed by delivery of the completed units to Airbus for installation on A320neo (new engine option) aircraft.

Situated in the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley on America’s Gulf Coast, the Safran Nacelles integration facility is approximately one mile (1.6 kilometers) from where Airbus builds the single-aisle A320 product line.  

Safran Nacelles has signed a 20-year lease at the Mobile Aeroplex for an existing building, which currently is being refurbished to meet the company’s operational requirements. Engine podding activity will begin late next year, with deliveries of integrated powerplants to Airbus beginning in early 2018.

“This addition to our international footprint underscores Safran Nacelles’ commitment to being present at locations around the world in support of our customers,” said Jean-Paul Alary, the President of Safran Nacelles. 

Safran Nacelles has full responsibility for design, manufacture and customer support of the LEAP-1A nacelles, as well as its integration with the engine and delivery of complete propulsion systems to Airbus for installation on the A320’s underwing pylon.

The Mobile, Alabama site is part of Safran Nacelles’ $100 million investment in processes, supply chain management and employee skills to support its A320neo nacelle program, which is meeting Airbus’ timing and quality requirements for the fastest and largest production ramp-up in civil aviation history.  

Safran Nacelles’ Mobile, Alabama location will utilize the many innovations developed by the company for LEAP-1A nacelle/engine integration, including a specially-designed SmartTrolley engine cradle and transporter. Using the SmartTrolley, Safran Nacelles has significantly reduced the nacelle/engine integration time and optimized the cycle time.

The new Mobile, Alabama facility is in addition to Safran Nacelles’ other engine/nacelle integration sites, which are situated at Toulouse/Colomiers, France and Hamburg/Finkenwerder, Germany; along with an operation in Komsomolsk, Russia. 

Safran Nacelles’ podding operation in Alabama will be the company’s second U.S. facility. It joins Safran Nacelles Services Americas in Indianapolis, Indiana, which performs the maintenance, repair and servicing of company-produced nacelle systems used on airliners, regional jets and business aircraft across the North American continent.