February 22, 2018 / 3:19 AM / a year ago

Safran sees quick rampup of Mexico composite fan blade plant

Safran Chief Executive Philippe Petitcolin adjusts his handset during the inauguration of the Safran Aircraft Engines plant in Queretaro, Mexico, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

QUERETARO, Mexico (Reuters) - French aero engine maker Safran (SAF.PA) expects to be producing 20,000 composite fan blades for the LEAP jet engine by 2021 at its new plant in central Mexico’s Queretaro state, the company’s chief executive Philippe Petitcolin said on Wednesday.

The composites plant, a joint $100 million investment with Albany International, was built to meet record order books for new LEAP engines and an increase in production rates requested by planemakers, especially Boeing’s (BA.N) 737 MAX.

In Mexico, there are orders for LEAP engines for 60 Aeromexico 737 aircraft and 35 A320neo aircraft for Interjet, said Safran.

“We want to open more plants in Mexico, in Queretaro. It’s a possibility and will depend on demand,” Petitcolin told reporters.

The new plant, the third joint venture between the firms, was officially inaugurated on Wednesday but already delivered its first parts in October. It makes 3D woven composite fan blades for the LEAP engine from CFM International.

Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Sandra Maler

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