Ground broken on $100M Safran Landing Systems expansion in Walton

Expected to create 80 jobs

WALTON, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2016) — Ground was broken today on a $100 million-plus expansion of Safran Landing Systems that will create about 80 jobs in Northern Kentucky. Safran is an aircraft wheel and brake components maker.

“Safran is one of the world’s leading aerospace companies. Their decision to invest in Kentucky further elevates the commonwealth as the manufacturing hub of excellence in America,” Gov. Matt Bevin said.

Safran Landing Systems, formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, will add to its existing facility to increase production capacity for carbon brakes to meet expected airline demand. Company executives expect construction to finish by the end of 2017.

“As the world leader in aircraft landing and braking systems, it is imperative that we be able to keep up with the increasing carbon brake demand from our North American clients,” said Safran Landing Systems CEO Vincent Mascré. “This expansion will help us do that by significantly increasing production capacity.”

The Walton plant’s clientele includes Delta, Spirit Airlines and Air Canada among other North American airlines. A variety of commercial and military aircraft models use its carbon brakes. In addition to the Walton facility, Safran Landing Systems operates carbon production plants in Villeurbanne, France and Sendayan, Malaysia.

Exports of Kentucky’s aerospace products and parts increased by 21.8 percent during the first seven months of 2016 compared to the same months in 2015. That strong growth helped the category easily hold the No. 1 export spot in the state. Companies in Kentucky exported more than $6 billion in aerospace parts and products, representing 36 percent of the state’s overall $16.88 billion exports through July.

Safran Landing Systems was the first company to introduce carbon brakes on commercial aircraft in 1986, which are now the benchmark in high-performance braking. Offering energy absorption capacity two-to-three times greater than steel brakes, and reduced operating costs, carbon brakes deliver proven technological, economic and environmental advantages to airlines.

The company’s worldwide capabilities encompass the full product life cycle of aircraft landing and braking systems. That includes design, manufacturing, in-service support, repair and overhaul. The company is a partner to 30 commercial, military, business and regional aircraft manufacturers, and supports more than 25,000 aircraft. The company has more than 7,000 employees at locations in Europe, North America and Asia.

Its corporate parent, French tech giant Safran, employs 70,000 people worldwide in three core businesses; of aerospace, defense, and security.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) at its January 28 meeting preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program based on the company’s investment of up to $150.3 million and creation of up to 84 jobs. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Also at its January meeting, KEDFA preliminarily approved Safran Landing Systems for up to $1 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

In addition, the company can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.

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