Boeing 737 APU Flickr
An auxiliary power unit aboard a Boeing 737 aircraft.

Boeing Set to Start Something New, with Safran

Joint venture designing, building, and servicing auxiliary power units gains regulatory clearance to launch operations

The Boeing Co. and its partner Safran S.A. have regulatory approval to launch their previously announced venture, which will design, build, and service auxiliary power units (APUs) for commercial aircraft. Each company will have a 50% share of the new company, still unnamed, which will be based in the U.S.

The venture represents a new technology area for Boeing, though Safran currently manufactures APU systems, and Boeing and Safran already are partners in MATIS, a producer of wiring products for several airframe and engine companies.

APUs are onboard engines used to start the main engines and power aircraft systems while on the ground, or during flight if necessary. They provide energy for functions other than propulsion, to power lighting, IT, navigation, ventilation, and various other electrical power requirements aboard an aircraft.

While the APU market is dominated by Honeywell Inc. and United Technologies, Safran currently manufactures APU systems. It’s not known if the new venture will rely on current Safran technologies for its product line. Currently the APU market is dominated by two suppliers,

Boeing and Safran already are partners in MATIS, a producer of wiring products for several airframe and engine companies.

The name of the joint venture and its headquarters and production sites will be announced at some future date. Initial design work will be centered in San Diego, their announcement noted.

"This joint venture strengthens Boeing's vertical capabilities as we continue to expand our services portfolio," stated Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. "By making strategic investments that accelerate our growth plans, we also are providing our customers with expanded, innovative services solutions."

The venture’s management team will be led by Etienne Boisseau as CEO, with Linda Hapgood, COO, Erin Morrissey, CFO, and Joan Inlow, CTO.

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