Sonaca Aircraft, a subsidiary of the Walloon aeronautical equipment manufacturer Sonaca, which is 92% owned by the Wallonia region, is to stop its aircraft production, citing the “prolonged impact of the Covid-19 crisis” and an insufficient level of sales.
The light aircraft manufacturer was behind the Sonaca 200, a reliable two-seater aircraft, usually sold to flying clubs, schools, and private individuals. The planes are made of an all-metal body, can reach speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour, and feature a maximum 750-kilogram takeoff weight.
Based on the South African designed Airplane Factory Sling 2, Sonaca introduced the aircraft to the market in 2017. Since the start of production, 57 S200 planes have been made.
32 employees affected by the decision will be offered a job in the plane manufacturer’s parent company. Aircraft were previously assembled at the Temploux aerodrome, near Namur in Wallonia.
On 23 May, Sonaca’s Board of Directors decided to stop financing the loss-making Sonaca aircraft subsidiary. Funding will continue, however, to be invested into providing essential services for customers of Sonaca, such as servicing and after-sale services.
“The cessation of Sonaca Aircraft’s production activities is a necessary decision. The Covid-19 pandemic, which will globally impact the aeronautical sector until 2025, has strongly affected general aviation, in particular activities related to training. and the training of pilots,” said CEO of the Sonaca Group, Yves Delatte, to the Belga News Agency.
The Belgian company, which has a presence in markets across the world, will now focus on attempting to become a market leader in the global aerostructure industry. Sonaca produces movable wing elements, such as slats and flaps, on behalf of several major civil and military aircraft manufacturers.