The 2011/07/06 at 14:41
Set up in 2004, the Airia group expanded quickly and today, it is made up of 8 companies, employs 530 persons, and its turnover in 2011 came to 55 million euros, including 35 % produced in the petrol sector and 65 % in the transport sector (90 % in aeronautics and 10 % in the rail industry). The group is based in the French regions of Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Midi-Pyrénées, as well as Tunisia.
The company Maz'Air generates 40 % of Airia’s turnover. Set up in 1980 to assemble the flaps of the Falcon 900 by Dassault, Maz’Air next evolved to integrate the manufacturing of primary parts through boiler and fine sheet metalwork activity and the development of large-scale sub-assembly (work packages). In 2008, Maz’Air was taken over by the Airia group. “The heart of our activity today is manufacturing and assembly. We wish to offer our clients a global solution by being able to deliver primary parts such as complex work packages,” says Christian Périchon, CEO of the Airia group, who specifies that the Airia is now the leading partner of Airbus and Eurocopter. Via Maz’Air, the group notably undertakes the manufacturing of the engine mast of the Falcon F7X by Dassault, the integrated staircase of the Airbus A320, the equipping of nacelles for ATR planes, as well as numerous other structures equipping the Airbus A 320. Some of these work packages are subject to factory performance tests (including fuel tests) before being delivered to the plane manufacturer’s final assembly lines.
In addition, the Airia group, through its other companies such as S’Industries and Sorop, supplies Eurocopter with high-precision machined mechanical parts. All these activities illustrate the technical knowhow of the Airia group, as well as its capacity to manage a complex supply chain. All of the group’s companies are EN9100-certified, and some also hold Part 21 G and Part 145 authorisations. PRI Nadcap certification is also underway. The group develops four main areas of expertise: mechanical machining (small or large dimensions, on light alloys or hard metals), aeronautic sheet-metal and boiler works, the transformation of composites and associated services (maintenance and repairs of aircraft composite elements) and the assembly of work packages (large-scale aircraft subassembly). On the strength of this four-way knowhow and its prestigious client list, the group was chosen in 2010 by Airbus to manufacture the secondary part of the reactor mast of the future A350. “A contract for the first 800 planes, in other words a market covering the next decade and proving that we know how to manufacture and deliver complex work packages,” comments the CEO.
In the context of this contract, Maz’Air engineers and technicians joined forces with Airbus teams very early on to take part in the “support phase” by collaborating in the final definition of the work package. Present in the passenger plane, business plane and helicopter segments, Airia group intends to strengthen its positions in these three market sectors. To achieve this aim, the group has invested over 3.5 million euros to expand its Maz’Air site, by constructing a 3,000 m2 assembly hall and 800 m2 in office space. “This extension has allowed us to rethink and reorganise our industrial and logistical flows between the assembly and boiler making sections, in order to improve our productivity and to house new assembly lines for new programmes,” explains Christian Périchon, who points out that “thanks to these new production capacities, the company will be able to absorb increases in pace for programmes such as the A320 as well as future programmes. We also pursue an ambitious policy of investment in new production means, employee training and recruitment for new skills.”
As at every year, Airia took part in the international air-related expo 2011 held in Le Bourget. This was a week filled with encounters, prospects, suppliers and subcontractors. Being present alongside its partners at this expo is crucial for the group active on a market characterised by long cycles and necessitating significant initial outlays where returns on investment that can only be expected after a few years. The final word goes to Christian Périchon: “As our economic model relies on two sectors of activity with different cycles (petrol and aeronautics), our considerable size (over 50 million euros), our expertise in several complementary fields and our low-cost industrial installation are all sizeable assets for ordering parties.”