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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

FACC boss: “Aviation is recovering faster than expected”

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3000 employees work for FACC, 2650 of them in Austria.
Image: VOLKER Weihbold
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Three years of pandemic and one year of war have shaken the aircraft industry. However, manufacturers and suppliers shook off the consequences of the crises faster than expected, says FACC boss Robert Machtlinger – even though price increases are affecting the business of the Innviertel region.

“Globally, 70 percent of the pre-crisis level in aviation has been reached”, says Machtlinger to the OÖN. As reported, according to preliminary figures for the previous year, FACC expects sales of EUR 600 million and an operating result (EBIT) of EUR 5 million.

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The latter is below expectations due to rising material and energy costs and tightening of the supply chain. FACC felt this particularly in the second half of the year. For comparison: In the first half of 2022, EBIT was still 6.1 million euros. In terms of annual revenue in 2019, the medium-term goal was one billion euros. In 2021 it was 500, before Corona 653 million euros.

The leading company with Chinese owners will present details, including the dividend, on March 29 when the final figures for 2022 are presented. FACC has not paid out any profit-sharing payments to shareholders since July 2019.

In general, however, aviation is on the upswing, emphasizes Machtlinger. The pre-crisis level should be reached by 2024. In Europe and the USA, this is already 90 percent the case, in Asia it takes longer because China had lockdowns last year. The books at FACC are full for the next five years. Most recently, the order backlog was 5.5 billion US dollars.

The Innviertler manufacture landing flaps, luggage racks and thrust reverser housings. The company was founded in 1989 as a subsidiary of the ski manufacturer Fischer, the name is based on it (Fischer Advanced Composite Components).

In the short and medium-haul segment, the needs of the manufacturers are greater than in the long-haul segment, says the FACC boss. Buyers of the parts are Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer. For aircraft with up to 400 seats (Airbus A350, Boeing 787), the calls are lower, according to Machtlinger. There is still pressure on supply chains, especially with cable harnesses.

“Space travel still in the niche”

Apart from its core business, FACC is also active in space travel and also manufactures air taxis and drones. “But we’re still in the niche here. In the previous year, that was around two percent of total business”, says Machtlinger. However, there is potential to generate an additional 150 million euros in these divisions by 2025. The Chinese partner EHang will receive approval for air taxis in cities in China this year.

In terms of energy supply, FACC is on the right track despite the high costs. In 2006, plants were still completely supplied with gas, but the share has now shrunk to 18 percent. Geothermal energy, process heat and photovoltaics are increasingly being used.

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: Nachrichten

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