Purchase Of Superior Air Parts Shakes Up Engine Business

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Aviation insiders are abuzz about what may become one of the most significant developments in the U.S. aircraft engine industry in decades. German-based Thielert AG has announced it has taken over Superior Air Parts, of Coppell, Texas. The $10 million deal gives Thielert, which makes two Jet A-powered diesel engines, an instant manufacturing, distribution and service foothold in North America, something needed to support a sales campaign for the fuel-efficient mills in the world's largest aviation market. "With its outstanding products and established brand name, Superior Air Parts is the ideal acquisition to help us enhance our market position," said CEO Frank Thielert in a news release. "Our acquisition of Superior Air Parts marks our final step along the road into the U.S.-American market for engines and engine components and the expansion of our presence there." In the March 14 news release, Thielert says the deal was reached the previous evening, which means it probably hadn't been to the lawyers yet. So, Superior spokeswoman Ana Fontes said she would decline comment until the deal was finalized. Although Superior is a small company (50 employees), it has a long reach. It's the biggest manufacturer of after-market aircraft engine parts and has, for some time, built Lycoming clone engines for the experimental market. Last year, it gained full certification for its version of the venerable Lycoming IO-360.