The announcement came a little more than a year after Continental’s purchase of Danbury AeroSpace put 106 workers out of jobs. Company officials at the time said most of the displaced workers would be rehired as Continental employees. Danbury AeroSpace, which had a long history making aircraft parts and components in San Antonio, had previously purchased Engine Components International, Inc., which designed the Titan engine. The Titan was designed to closely match Lycoming engines, sharing many common parts, but exceed the performance, eventually serving both original and retrofit markets.
Continental Motors announced at EAA AirVenture in July that the effort to certify the Titan IO-370 (an engine already in service in experimental aircraft) is expected to conclude this year. The company said in the Aug. 17 press release that Titan engine production in San Antonio will be continued elsewhere as the company consolidates all of Continental's production in Alabama and Germany.
Rhett Ross, president and CEO of Continental Motors Group, which is based in Alabama and owned by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) International Corp., said in the company statement that rapid growth in recent years created a need to consolidate production.
“After significant review, we felt that we needed to simplify the business, not in products or services, but in the complexity of our operations,” Ross said in the statement. “Our commitment remains to the products first developed at CMG-San Antonio and more importantly to the people affected by this difficult decision.”
The company announcement said a leadership team has been created to “work directly with our team members and the local community, beginning today, to help them transition to new roles within the CMG family of businesses or to find new opportunities within the San Antonio business community.”
For customers, Continental promised “business as usual” with no interruptions in the supply of engines and parts on the market.
Continental said it has been working since 2011 to modernize production facilities in Alabama and Germany, and noted in the press release that effort has included implementation of “manufacturing techniques and lean tools based on the Toyota Production System.” Relocation of the San Antonio production “will allow better utilization of the technical capabilities, lean principles and capacity invested in the Alabama and German facilities since 2011.”
The company said the transition will “take time to complete” and did not offer a more specific timeframe. Ross, at EAA AirVenture in July, said, “this year is one of transition,” and promised several new products will be unveiled in 2017.