Paris Air Show: Leonardo and Sabena Technics win awards for their investments in Aix-Marseille

Paris Air Show: Leonardo and Sabena Technics win awards for their investments in Aix-Marseille
The 2023 edition of the Paris Air Show is an opportunity for major international aeronautics companies and other stakeholders in the sector to engage in discussions and pursue partnerships
21 June 2023 / Aeronautics , invest in provence

Provence Promotion presented two companies with the Invest in Provence award at the Paris Air Show: Leonardo and Sabena Technics

The Paris Air Show, also known as the Salon International de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace de Paris-Le Bourget (SIAE), is one of the world’s most important aerospace industry events. Leading manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, and Embraer, as well as professionals from all parts of the aeronautics industry, participate in the show with the objective of securing major contracts.

Among the exhibitors at this year’s event are the French company Sabena Technics, which is specialized in the maintenance of civil and military aircraft, and the Italian aerospace and defense giant Leonardo. Both of these internationally renowned companies have an established presence in Aix-Marseille and are expanding their activities in the territory through projects supported by Provence Promotion. The Paris Air Show was the occasion to present Sabena Technics and Leonardo with the Invest in Provence award in recognition of their commitment to the Aix-Marseille-Provence territory.

Leonardo’s presence in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area was enhanced in 2019 when they began the takeover process of Vitrociset, an IT services firm that had an engineering and design office with about 20 people in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance as part of its work on the ITER project. Vitrociset became a 100% subsidiary of Leonardo in September 2021, and its activities have since increased and its team has expanded.

As a result, in 2022, Leonardo decided to move to larger premises in Aix-en-Provence in a move that was supported by Provence Promotion.

When you’re not familiar with the area, it can be difficult, and Provence Promotion was a great help in identifying sites in Aix-en-Provence. It was an excellent choice, and our people feel comfortable and happy, it’s a very high quality of life. The agency has also provided us with many contacts and is helping us to explore other opportunities,” explains Fabrizio Maria Boggiani, the Senior Vice President of Customer Support & Service Solutions at Leonardo.

Ersilia Ingratta, who is the director of the Leonardo site in Aix-en-Provence, currently manages a team of 30 employees and plans to hire seven more people in 2023.

To highlight this foreign direct investment in the territory and this new expansion project, Bernard Deflesselles, the President of Provence Promotion, and Bernard Kleynhoff, the President of risingSUD, presented Fabrizio Maria Boggiani with the Invest in Provence award at their stand at the Paris Air Show.

Provence Promotion, which has helped Leonardo since 2019, and risingSUD will continue to provide support to Leonardo by facilitating the company’s recruitment of talent and identifying opportunities to diversify in the aeronautics market. Meetings are currently being set up with more of the territory’s key stakeholders.

A pivotal year in Provence for Sabena Technics

Sabena Technics is a leading French aeronautical maintenance group that employs 3000 people at 18 sites worldwide. Founded in 2009, the company is based in Paris (head office), Brittany, and Toulouse. It set up operations in the Aix-Marseille-Provence metro area in 2020 to diversify into the helicopter market. The presence of world leader Airbus Helicopters in Aix-Marseille creates a dynamic aeronautical ecosystem that is highly attractive to companies, talent, and investors. The ecosystem was further boosted by a €600 million investment plan launched jointly by Airbus Helicopters and the Marseille Provence Airport to modernize a wide range of facilities in the Aix-Marseille area.

Thanks to two strategic acquisitions made in 2020 — AeroTech Pro based in Aix-en-Provence and Istres, and Aeromecanic in Marignane — Sabena Technics has acquired new premises, including one of the two Boussiron hangars located at the Marseille-Provence Airport. The company celebrated its move into the hangar, which is classified as an official 20th-century heritage site, on May 4, 2023 in the presence of numerous partners and local elected representatives.

This infrastructure provides the group with exceptional maintenance capabilities in terms of the number of helicopters it can handle, the logistics zones, and mechanical and component workshops. After more than 25 years of inactivity, the hangar, which was completely refurbished by Sabena Technics, has reopened its doors and has become the company’s most energy-efficient building.

“We’re very proud to receive this award. We’ve wanted to expand into the helicopter market for many years, and to do so in the helicopter capital of Marseille-Marignane was a natural step. We renovated one of the two Boussiron hangars. The architecture is extraordinary, it’s a bright space and perfectly suited to our needs. It’s a truly magnificent industrial tool,” says Philippe Rochet, the President of Sabena Technics, who hopes his company will be able to acquire and renovate the second hangar as well.

Since setting up in Provence, Sabena Technics Helicopters has increased its workforce in the territory from 23 to 103, and the company is continuing to recruit.

This successful project was honored at the Paris Air Show as Philippe Stéfanini, the CEO of Provence Promotion, presented Philippe Rochet with the Invest in Provence award in recognition of his entry into the Aix-Marseille investor community. Further development prospects are still to come and Provence Promotion will support Sabena Technics in their new growth phase.

> For more information about setting up in the Aix-Marseille-Provence territory, contact Nicolas Cambazard, the aeronautics industry specialist at Provence Promotion