GE Aviation to Add 50 Jobs in North Carolina
June 18, 2013
GE Aviation confirmed Monday a plan to add 50 jobs at its
engine assembly plant in Durham, N.C., to boost capacity for assembly of a new jet
engine that one company official said is being developed to power heavily-used
The company formally announced the plans to add capacity at the Durham plant as
part of larger announcement of a $195 million total statewide investment that
would add about 240 jobs at sites in Asheville, Wilmington, in West Jefferson
and Durham. The company now employs about 1,300 people across the state.
City and county officials from around the state have worked on a
multi-jurisdictional effort to provide incentives for GE Aviation's investment,
while trying to keep details of the business deal under wraps. The deal is
contingent on final approval of an additional incentive package from the state,
said Kelly Walsh, a company spokeswoman.
According to previous reports in The Herald-Sun, local government leaders have
pledged millions in incentives for the company, which is a unit of General
Electric Co. Durham city and county leaders pledged $600,000, with $200,000
coming from the county and $400,000 from the city.
"I think GE has been a good corporate citizen," Durham Mayor Bill Bell said
Monday. "I think they have a lot of promise in terms of future outcomes. It's
pretty clear to me that if we couldn't get our package together across the
state, the opportunity may not come here."
Previously called "Project X" by local officials there, the plan for GE
Aviation's investment in Asheville includes the construction of a
125,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near an existing manufacturing
At the new plant, the company would produce engine components made of advanced
ceramic matrix composite materials, or CMCs, initially for GE Aviation's new
LEAP, or Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion, jet engine.
The new engine is being developed in by CFM International, a joint venture
between GE and the French company Snecma.
The LEAP engine, targeted to enter service in 2016, is designed to power
aircraft including the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Commercial
Aircraft Corporation of China's C919 aircraft.
Rick Kennedy, a spokesman for GE Aviation, said in an email that in terms of the
number of passengers and flights per day, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 are
in the "sweet spot" for the airline industry.
The Boeing 737 and the A320 handle mostly domestic flights with between 100 to
150 passengers, according to Kennedy, and can take off and land five to seven
times per day.
The new CMC material, which the company sees as a "differentiator" for its
next-generation aircraft engines, is planned to be incorporated into all of its
new engines, but the company is starting with CFM's LEAP engines, Walsh said.
The specific component to be built with CMC material in the new Asheville
factory would be a high-pressure turbine shroud, which is a stationery component
that directs exhaust gases through the high-pressure turbine.
The factory would be the company's first involved in the mass production of CMC
components, David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, said in a statement
in the company's news release.
The CMC material is lighter weight and more durable, allowing for lower fuel and
maintenance costs for customers, the company said in its release. The material
is able to support extremely high temperatures in the high-pressure turbine.
The company said it has orders and commitments for more than 4,500 LEAP engines.
There will be 18 CFM turbine shrouds in each LEAP engine produced, which the
company said would mean a high, long-term production volume at the Asheville
"We believe the future Asheville plant will be on the ground floor of a new
technology that will change aviation," Joyce said in the release.
The workforce at GE Aviation's current manufacturing facility in Asheville,
where the company now employs 290, would gradually transition to the new plant.
The company is planning for an additional approximately 50 workers at the new
Across the next decade, the current machining work at the site could be
transferred to other GE plants.
The planned investment in the company's assembly plant Durham, which has been
called "Project Bull" by local government officials, is primarily for new
tooling and equipment for the LEAP engine, Walsh said.
The company is also planning for an additional 105 workers and an
80,000-square-foot expansion in West Jefferson in Ashe County.
The proposed investment in the facility there, which currently does machining of
rotating parts, would allow for increased capacity for additional machining
The company is also planning for 35 additional jobs in Wilmington. GE Aviation's
540,000-square-foot facility in the coastal city will continue to manufacture
medium to large rotating hardware. The investment would allow for the purchase
of next-generation equipment for the plant.
Source: (c)2013 The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) Distributed by MCT Information Services