GE Aviation To Expand Facilities in West Jefferson, Other Parts of NC, 105 New Jobs in Ashe By 2017

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July 9, 2013. GE Aviation, a global leader in jet engine and aircraft system production, has finalized plans to break ground this year on an advanced composite component factory near Asheville in Western North Carolina. 

Colleen Athans, Vice President and General Manager, Supply Chain was joined by Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker to announce final approval from the state’s Economic Investment Committee (EIC).

GE-Aviation-logoThe new 125,000-square-foot facility (next to an existing GE Aviation machining plant) will produce engine components made of advanced ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials.

GE could begin hiring at the new CMC components plant as early as 2014. Within five years, the workforce at the plant is expected to grow to more than 340 people.

The new facility will be part of a larger commitment by GE Aviation to invest $195 million across its North Carolina operations through 2017. GE Aviation has more than 1,300 employees in North Carolina at sites in Durham, West Jefferson, Wilmington, and Asheville. Overall, the new CMC facility, combined with plant and equipment upgrades at existing sites across North Carolina, will create 242 additional GE jobs by 2017.

“Part of our state’s economic recovery not only relies on creating new jobs here, but also on retaining great companies like GE,” said Governor McCrory. “We’re serious about building on existing industries in North Carolina and this project is a perfect example of our commitment.”

The workforce (290 employees) at GE Aviation’s current machining operation in Asheville will gradually transition to the CMC components plant. Over the next decade, the current machining work at the Asheville shop could be transitioned to other GE facilities.

The introduction of CMC components into the hot section of GE jet engines represents a significant technology breakthrough for GE and the jet propulsion industry. CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic resin, manufactured through a highly sophisticated process and further enhanced with proprietary coatings.

GE Aviation views CMCs as a differentiator for its next-generation aircraft engines. The ultra-lightweight CMC material supports extremely high temperatures in the high-pressure turbine. CMC benefits include: reduced weight, enhanced performance and improved durability that provides longer time on wing, translating into lower fuel and maintenance costs for customers.

“GE has been investing in CMC technology for decades, and we are mastering the manufacturing of CMCs at our laboratory in Delaware. Asheville will be our first factory involved in the mass production of CMC components,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “We believe the future Asheville plant will be on the ground floor of a new technology that will change aviation.”

The specific CMC component to be built in the new Asheville facility is a high-pressure turbine shroud, a stationery component that directs exhaust gases through the high-pressure turbine. More importantly, this CMC component will be on the best-selling LEAP jet engine, being developed by CFM International, a joint company of GE and Snecma (SAFRAN) of France. The LEAP engine, which will enter airline service in 2016, will power the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft.

Remarkably, CFM to date has logged total orders and commitments for more than 4,500 LEAP engines. There will be 18 CMC turbine shrouds in every LEAP engine produced, thus setting the stage for high, long-term production volume at the Asheville plant.

The number of CMC components inside GE jet engines will continue to grow with each new product introduction.

GE worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Commerce to secure the proposed Asheville location and investments in existing facilities. The commerce department, along with several local agencies (the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Buncombe County, City of Asheville, Ashe County, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and Wilmington Business Development) have provided technical support and incentives to ensure a smooth and successful start-up.

To prepare for the new factory, GE will partner with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (ABTCC). The training program at ABTCC will allow current and prospective employees to train in a hands-on environment with state-of- the- art machinery.

The GE Aviation facility in Durham assembles commercial jet engines. The proposed investment will allow for increased capacity and new plant and equipment for the next generation of commercial engines.

Proposed investment in the West Jefferson facility, which currently does machining of rotating parts, will also allow for increased capacity as it assumes additional machining work. The facility is poised for an 80,000-square-foot expansion which will come with an additional 105 jobs by 2017.

The 540,000-square-foot facility in Wilmington will continue to manufacture medium to large rotating hardware. The planned investment will allow for the purchase of next- generation equipment for the plant. 

GE develops and produces the world’s most advanced composite components for jet engines. All development of composite components will remain in Newark, Delaware. Asheville joins several other GE facilities such as Batesville, Mississippi, Ellisville, Mississippi and Baltimore, Maryland that produce composite components. In addition to shrouds, Asheville will have capacity to take on additional component work when new technologies are developed.

GE Aviation has the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE Aviation employs approximately 40,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities around the world.

The company invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion research and development programs. This long tradition of commitment to new technology has helped GE maintain its leadership position within the industry with a proud list of “firsts” in both military and commercial jet propulsion, tracing back to 1942 with America’s first jet engine.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.

 Release from Gov. McCrory’s Office

Governor Pat McCrory and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced today that GE Aviation, a global leader in jet engine and aircraft system production, will be expanding its manufacturing operations at four facilities in North Carolina.  The project will create 242 new jobs and bring a capital investment of $195 million over the next five years.  

“Part of our state’s economic recovery not only relies on creating new jobs here, but also on retaining great companies like GE,” said Governor McCrory. “We’re serious about building on existing industries in North Carolina and this project is a perfect example of our commitment.”

GE-Aviation-logoGE Aviation will produce engine components made of advanced ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials at a new facility located next to the existing GE Aviation machining plant in Asheville. This technology will result in enhanced performance and improved durability of engines, which translates into lower fuel and maintenance costs for customers. The project will also increase employment and investment in Durham, West Jefferson and Wilmington. GE currently employs more than 1,300 people at its four North Carolina sites.

“The aviation industry is a critical target sector for North Carolina, one that is becoming increasingly important to sustainable job and investment growth for the state,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker.  “Our state has the customized job training programs and skilled workforce that advanced manufacturers like GE Aviation need to compete in a global market.”  

GE Aviation, a division of General Electric Company, is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also manufactures gas turbines, derived from its highly successful jet engine programs, for marine and industrial applications. In addition, GE Aviation provides comprehensive maintenance support for jet engines in service throughout the world. 

Compensation for the new positions will vary by job function, but average annual wage will be $47,942 plus benefits. The average annual wages for the new positions are above the average annual county wage in all four counties.

“GE has been investing in CMC technology for decades, and we are mastering the manufacturing of CMCs at our laboratory in Delaware.  Asheville will be our first factory involved in the mass production of CMC components,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “We believe the future Asheville plant will be on the ground floor of a new technology that will change aviation.”

The project was made possible in part by an award to GE Aviation from the state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, as voted by the state Economic Investment Committee. Receipt of the award is based on proof of job creation and other performance requirements. The award is also subject to fund availability. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state, and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of the company’s JDIG award, GE Aviation is eligible to receive up to 12 annual grants equal to 75 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created since the date of the initial award. Receipt of each annual grant is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over 12 years, the JDIG award could yield aggregate benefits to GE Aviation of up to $3.57 million.

In addition, up to $1,190,000 in funds from the company’s JDIG award could be added to the state’s Utility Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties. When a JDIG is awarded to a company whose site is located in the state’s more economically prosperous counties such as Buncombe, Durham and New Hanover counties, 25 percent of the company’s grant is allocated to the Utility Fund to encourage economic development in less prosperous counties. For more information on the county tier designations, visit: http://www.nccommerce.com/research-publications/incentive-reports/county-tier-designations

The project was also made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $1,250,000. The grant is contingent upon proof of job creation and receipt of a local funding match. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds.

Other partners that worked on the project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, Ashe County, Buncombe County, Durham County, New Hanover County, City of Asheville, City of Durham, Town of West Jefferson and Ashe County Job Development.

For more information about GE Aviation, visit www.geaviation.com.

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