Aircelle marks an industrial milestone with the delivery of 6,000th thrust reverser on an Airbus A320

An A320 family jetliner equipped with the 6,000th thrust reverser produced by Aircelle was delivered to an airline operator today (May 16, 2012), marking a new milestone in a program that has contributed to the company’s industrial success as a leader in the jet engine nacelle sector.

Aircelle’s thrust reversers are used on the CFM International CFM56 engine option that is available on all versions of the Airbus A320 product line: the A318, A319, A320 and A321. To date, nearly 3,000 of these twin-engine, single-aisle airliners are operated with the Aircelle product, accumulating over 126 million flight hours and 75 million operating cycles.

The milestone 6,000th Aircelle reverser is equipped on an A320 aircraft delivered by Airbus to China Eastern Airlines at Tianjin, China – which is one of three worldwide locations for A320 family final assembly lines, along with Toulouse, France and Hamburg, Germany.

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“During the nearly three decades of this exemplary production effort, the A320 thrust reverser has helped define Aircelle as a world leader – demonstrating our company’s capability to master large-scale programs and manage a robust, optimized supply chain, all while meeting requirements for quality, delivery times and production rate increases,” said Vincent Mascré, the Aircelle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Aircelle’s assembly line at Le Havre, France currently produces 40 A320 thrust reversers per month, which is 10 times higher than the original rate envisaged when the initial production contract was awarded in 1984. The output is to further increase, reaching a cadence of 46-48 thrust reversers monthly by the end of 2012 –meeting the demand of more than 2,500 units that remain to be produced by Aircelle.

Participating in the A320 thrust reverser supply chain are Aircelle facilities at Casablanca, Morocco and the SAVI joint venture of Aircelle with the Chinese AVIC Group’s XAIC subsidiary in Xi’an, China.

An airliner’s thrust reverser is a key element of a jet engine nacelle, and is used to slow an aircraft after touchdown. The concept developed for Aircelle’s A320 reverser uses four hydraulically-operated pivoting doors to deviate thrust during the landing rollout, which simplifies the design and improves breaking efficiency.

In addition to its pioneering four-door design, the reverser also marked an early use of composites for such aircraft components – applying this material in the doors as well as the outer fixed structure.

“With the A320 thrust reverser, Aircelle demonstrated how we apply our resources and technologies to all of the company’s programs from the beginning,” explained program manager Jean François Poinsard. “It is interesting to note that the outlook for this program was modest at the outset – as the early targets were for a total production run of some 400 reversers. Today, at least two of these thrust reversers come off our assembly line every day, for an annual rate of more than 500 per year.”

Building on the A320 thrust reverser’s success, Aircelle has been selected to provide the nacelle for CFM International LEAP engines that equip Airbus’ next-generation A320neo jetliners.

Source: Safran S.A. (Paris: SAF.PA)
Date: May 17, 2012