French aerospace firm expanding operations in northern Mexico

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Safran Group to bring 800 jobs to Chihuahua after government commits to training workers

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A second foreign company has announced a multi-million dollar manufacturing investment in neighboring Chihuahua, Mexico.

France-based Safran Group will pump an initial $10 million into a new airplane-seats factory that’ll bring up to 800 jobs to the state, Mexican officials said.

The company already manufactures electrical harnesses for Embraer’s Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business aircraft at a Chihuahua City plant. The new plant, also in Chihuahua City, will assemble airplane seats for Boeing aircraft, state officials said.

This is the second major foreign investment in the state. Last week, Canadian off-road vehicle manufacturer BRP announced it would build a new facility in Juarez for its Can-Am brand.

Juarez gets first post-NAFTA investment: $132 million auto assembly plant

“Safran’s project comes during difficult times for the state and brings a measure of positivity,” said Alejandra de la Vega, secretary of Economic Development and Innovation for the state of Chihuahua.

Safran has been operating in Mexico for the past 25 years and employs 13,000 production and maintenance workers and engineers. The company bills itself as Mexico’s largest employer in the aerospace industry.

“It has a vigorous presence in Chihuahua and in Queretaro,” Chihuahua Gov. Javier Corral said Monday in a teleconference. “We have been working with them since mid-2019 on this project […] we came up with a package of fiscal incentives and training. The plant will be right next to the state’s High-Tech Training Center, where employees will be trained to comply with the aerospace industry’s high-quality standards.”

Daniel Parfait, Safran’s president of operations in Mexico, said the company has had to reorganize and realign its production chain in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to trade industry news reports, the company barely in May cut back 3,000 jobs elsewhere.

“The cooperation with Chihuahua was crucial in these complicated times. We will train people who will later come to work in the plants,” Parfait said, adding the company already has 5,200 employees in its two factories in state and the “ecosystem” to back up the airplane seats production.

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