01/27/2021 France’s Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery visits Liebherr in Connection with the Recovery Plan for the Aviation Industry

On Friday 22 January 2021, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, Bruno Le Maire, travelled to the site of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS in Toulouse on the occasion of a ministerial visit to the region of Occitania in connection with the state support being provided to companies in the aviation sector under the “France Relance” (Relaunch France) plan. The Minister’s visit was concluded by a round-table session that provided an opportunity for the Minister to meet with key players and a number of companies from the aeronautics sector in the region that have also benefited from the relaunch plan.

The Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery talks to an employee of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS - © Liebherr

The Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery talks to an employee of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS - © Liebherr

The Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery talks to an employee of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS - © Liebherr

On Friday 22 January 2021, Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, visited the site of Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS. The visit formed part of his trip to the region of Occitania in connection with the relaunch plan for the aviation sector. During the Minister’s visit, the Liebherr-Aerospace team presented research and technology projects being carried out in preparation for the ‘post-crisis’ era, which will also contribute towards the transformation of air transport. The common objective of all parties within France’s aeronautics sector is to develop a carbon-neutral aircraft. Following his on-site visit, the Minister convened a “round table” attended by the regional players in the aviation industry, including several companies that have benefited from the relaunch plan.

Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS applied for state support within the frame of two major projects. The first, which has already benefited from the “France Relance” plan, concerns the development of a new line of products that until now had been imported, namely fluid pumps. That project represents an overall investment of around € 5 million and will be co-funded by the state to the tune of € 2.4 million. The project will enable the company to extend its range of products in the area of thermal management on-board aircraft. This will also provide innovative solutions not only to the space and the rail and road transport markets, but also to emerging markets in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells.

This project involves two partners, both of which are SMEs from France, namely AKIRA and 2E WINDINGS, which will work together with Liebherr. In addition to the project’s concept, Liebherr has also made plans to manufacture these new devices on a new, fully automated and fully connected production line at its facility in Toulouse. From design to production, the life cycle of this new product will form a practical example of how the processes and tools that form part of the digital transformation can be applied. The project will take just over three years to complete.

As announced by Bruno Le Maire during his visit, the second project will also receive support under the relaunch plan. That project will focus on the development of high-speed air compressors that incorporate a unique type of technology involving the use of air bearings. The compressors will be used in the rail transport sector to provide propulsion powered by fuel cells. This project represents an overall investment of around € 4.9 million and will be co-funded by the state to the tune of € 1.25 million. The product itself will generate zero CO2 emissions and provide an alternative for a new generation of trains. The project will be developed in collaboration with partners based in France (two partner SMEs, namely 2E WINDINGS and Danielson Engineering) and a sub-contracting firm (Centum Adeneo). As a result of the project, Liebherr-Aerospace will be able to offer innovative solutions developed from within the aerospace sector itself, while continuing its efforts to diversify its activities targeted at the rail sector

As Francis Carla, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS, explained:

“The relaunch plan will enable us to withstand the crisis, to preserve as many skills and jobs as we can and, as our projects themselves specifically illustrate, to get our company ready for the “post crisis” era; the plan will also allow us to fast-track our progress along our technology road map as we endeavour to develop products that are more environmentally friendly. Along with all industrial players in the aeronautics sector, we have taken up the challenge of developing “greener” aircraft as a means of ensuring that a carbon-neutral air transport sector becomes a reality.”