Safran will create an aircraft wiring joint venture with China’s Comac and supply the engine nacelle for the Airbus A320NEO family in moves that will reinforce the French engine and aero-equipment manufacturer’s position in the future narrowbody sector.
The Comac venture, announced during the recent release of 2010 full-year results, will be charged with designing, developing, producing and supporting electrical wiring interconnection systems on Comac’s C919 and, presumably, with shaving weight from the aircraft. Comac subsidiary Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing will have a 51% share in the venture, which will be located in Shanghai, and Safran’s Labinal wiring affiliate, 49%.
The deal follows a January agreement with Airbus to supply end-to-end fuselage wiring systems for the life of the Airbus A380 ultra-widebody program under a plan by the European airframer to streamline the supply chain for the aircraft and reduce lead times and costs.
The Comac move comes after the selection last November of the Leap-X engine, produced by the Safran-General Electric partnership CFM International, for the C919, and the creation of an avionics venture between GE and Comac in January. The Chinese airframer has 100 orders for the C919 and forecasts sales of more than 2,000 units over the next 20 years, although analysts expect the A320NEO and a likely upgrade to the Boeing 737 family to eat into this market.
Safran also revealed that Naxcelle, another Safran-GE company, will supply integrated engine nacelle packages for the Leap-X engines that will equip the A320NEO family. Airbus says it expects to have several hundred orders for the A320NEO by the Paris Air Show in June and expects to sell 4,000 aircraft over the life of the program.
The nacelle package already was due to be supplied for the C919 as part of the Leap-X scope of supply.