French engine parts and subassemblies manufacturer Figeac Aéro has postponed the opening of its new production facility in Tunisia as a result of the civil unrest in the country earlier this year.
Within the framework of a sub-contracting agreement with EADS subsidiary Aerolia, Figeac Aéro had planned to begin lower-value production in Tunisia at the start of the year in rented premises, ahead of opening its own 10,000m² (107,640ft²) facility at the new M'Ghira aeronautics business park, near Tunis.
The new facility was originally scheduled to open in January 2012.
"Our personnel were all set to travel to Tunisia in January when the uprising began to gather momentum. We had no choice but to put everything on hold, including the shipment of machinery and equipment which had been ready for dispatch from the port of Marseille," says Figeac Aéro commercial director Luc Rouan.
Construction of the new facility, which had been earmarked to begin in January, could now get underway this month, he adds.
"If this is the case, the plant could enter service in around 12 months' time," says Rouan.
"Our local manager [in Tunisia] will assess the situation in the coming days and decide whether we can commence activities in the rented facility or whether it is best to wait until after the parliamentary elections in Tunisia, which are scheduled to be held in June 2011."
Rouan also reveals that Figeac Aéro is poised to invest in a "sizeable" facility near Aérolia's plant in Meaulte, in northern France, with construction due to start this year. "We can't say more on this project at this stage," he adds.