The Story of Safran Nacelles
Safran Nacelles is one of the leading players in the worldwide nacelle market for aircraft engines. Its history dates back more than 120 years, since it began in 1896 with the establishment of the Schneider Frères & Cie factories in Le Havre.
The beginning in Le Havre
The industrial complex of Schneider Frères & Cie factories, specialized in the production of armaments, is established in Le Havre in 1896. It includes, in addition to a general management, vast workshops for general mechanics, bar turning, carpentry, foundry, and forging. These installations are supplemented by a firing range of 5,000 hectares extending over a length of 20km, which allows the execution of the tests of most artillery equipment.
The construction workshops in Le Havre are transformed in June 1937 into a State Arsenal. During the Second World War, the factory is completely controlled by the occupying army before being dismantled and transferred to Germany. The few buildings still usable after the destruction of 1944 are then used by the Allied troops. Returned to service, the facilities resume the manufacture of military equipment, in particular the overhaul and control of artillery pieces.
Specialization for the aviation sector
In 1963, the arsenal at Le Havre comes under the management responsibility of Snecma Normandie. Its activities are diversified into the manufacture and repair of mechanical parts for the aviation and defense sectors. These activities are brought under the control of Hispano-Suiza (a Snecma subsidiary) in 1977. Development and production concentrate on aviation products, including the first engine nacelle components such as thrust reversers.
In 1997, the facility becomes a subsidiary and changes its name to Hispano-Suiza Aerostructures. The head office is located in Gonfreville L'Orcher (Seine-Maritime, Normandy). An industrial success accompanies this event as Airbus selects the company for the realization of the thrust reverser of the future A340-500/600 aircraft. Created the following year, Aircelle is a 50/50 joint venture between Hispano-Suiza Aerostructures and Airbus, for the development and marketing of nacelles. Its name results from the contraction between “Airbus” and “nacelle”.
Snecma purchases the Hurel-Dubois company in 2000. The merger with Hispano-Suiza Aerostructures in the following year leads to the creation of Hurel-Hispano. In 2002, Hurel-Hispano buys Airbus' shares in Aircelle, then simplifies the group's legal structures and sets up an operational organization based on four major program divisions. This consolidation bolsters the company’s ability to offer complete nacelle packages worldwide, ranging from design, development and integration, to full aftermarket support for airlines and distribution of spare parts.
In 2003, Hurel-Hispano begins the deliveries of initial components for both the Airbus A380 and Dassault F7X business jet.
In 2004, Hurel-Hispano inaugurates the new Pont-Audemer (Eure, Normandy) facility, which is entirely dedicated to nacelle repair. The inauguration also provides the occasion to announce the signature of a new engine nacelle agreement between Boeing and Hurel-Hispano.
Joining Safran Group
Snecma and Sagem merge their activities in 2005 to create a new company named Safran; Hurel-Hispano changes its name back to Aircelle and joins Safran Group’s Aerospace Equipment branch. Major Aircelle program milestones during the year include the A380’s first flight, equipped with Aircelle’s nacelles; and the expansion of Aircelle’s maintenance network into the United States through an agreement with ExpressJet Services.
Aircelle celebrates the delivery of the 500th nacelle for the Airbus A340-500/600 in 2008. This nacelle is the very first entirely designed and manufactured by Aircelle. This program raises the company from the status of a simple supplier to that of a nacelle integrator, and leads it to work directly in contact with operators and airlines.
In 2009, Aircelle and Air France Industries join forces to offer nacelle repair and maintenance services in the Middle East through a shared company based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. This joint venture, called Aerostructures Middle East Services (AMES), benefits from the professional expertise of Air France Industries in terms of maintenance, repair and overhaul, but also from Aircelle's good position on the nacelles market for aircraft of all sizes.
On the 10th anniversary of the Customer Services Department, in 2012, a new building located in Le Havre and intended to house the customer service center is inaugurated. This step marks a turning point. The improvement in the Airbus Rating ranking enables Aircelle to receive the “Most Improved Supplier” award and the signing of several service contracts represents an important event for the division.
In 2016, when all of the companies included in Safran Group change their names, Aircelle becomes Safran Nacelles.
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