French engineering giant SAFRAN has been handed a euro300 billion loan to help develop a new generation of cleaner aircraft engines.
European Investment Bank Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive and SAFRAN Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Herteman signed the finance deal at the Paris Air Show last week.
The EIB loan will be used to finance Research & Development on aircraft engines that use less fuel and are friendlier to the environment. SAFRAN group company Snecma is aiming to develop a successor to the CFM56 engine (jointly produced with General Electric), designed for single-aisle commercial jets with 110 to 210 seats, that will offer a 16% reduction in fuel consumption, 15 to 20 decibel decrease in noise, and 60% reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
At the same time Snecma is also working on a new technology, the open rotor configuration, that would eventually reduce both fuel consumption and CO 2 emissions by more than 25%. The total cost of the R&D project is estimated at 600 million euros.
This is the first loan granted to the aerospace industry that is in line with the European Clean Transport Facility (ECTF), a financing programme launched by the EIB last December to support Europe’s economic recovery plan and the long-term fight against climate change. ECTF loans have already been approved for manufacturers of cars and trucks and their suppliers.
“I am delighted that the EIB can support SAFRAN’s efforts to develop cleaner aircraft engines. Europe needs to pursue high value-added research activities despite the recession if we want to remain competitive. Making aviation more environmentally friendly will benefit everybody” said Philippe de Fontaine Vive, who is in charge of EIB financing programmes in France.
“I am very pleased with this latest mark of confidence by the EIB, which will help us finance R&D for a new generation of aircraft engines. The technological breakthroughs in this programme, a major one for SAFRAN, are the result of extensive and ongoing basic research. SAFRAN is very proud of our long-term relationship with this prestigious institution, which has already provided financing for several Group projects in the space and civil aviation sectors ” said SAFRAN CEO Jean-Paul Herteman.
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