Posted by Heidi Schwartz
GE Aviation, a manufacturer of jet engines and aircraft systems, recently hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, IN.
The new 225,000-square-foot facility in Lafayette will assemble the new LEAP engine of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France. CFM has logged total orders and commitments with airlines for more than 7,500 LEAP jet engines – and it does not enter service until 2016. It will power new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft for airlines worldwide.
“To stay competitive, it is important that we continue to pursue orders in every corner of the globe,” said Tony Aiello, Vice President and General Manager of Assembly, Test and Overhaul for GE Aviation. “We will make it here in Indiana and ship it to customers all around the world, and we’re very proud of that.”
As the engine transitions to the production phase, GE could begin hiring at the new Lafayette facility as early as 2015. Within five years, the plant’s workforce is expected to exceed 200 people with the capacity to perform final assembly for the engine as well as the engine’s hot section. The Lafayette facility will operate a highly advanced assembly line incorporating several new technologies, including automated vision inspection systems and radio frequency parts management to easily spot parts on the shop floor.
“GE Aviation is a global leader in jet engines and aircraft systems, a corporate name that is recognized for excellence around the world,” said Senator Dan Coats. “The Lafayette plant will contribute greatly to Indiana’s economy through high-paying jobs and new opportunities for our workforce. I am thrilled that GE Aviation, a company that has and continues to lead in technological innovation, has put their faith in Indiana, a state that produces our nation’s best and brightest.”
GE worked closely with the state of Indiana to secure the Lafayette location. The state of Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the city of Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County have provided technical support and incentives to ensure a smooth and successful start-up.
To prepare for the new factory, GE will work with Ivy Tech at Lafayette and Purdue University for skills and training support. The plant will be minutes from Purdue University in West Lafayette, which has a long history of collaboration with GE Aviation and its parent, General Electric Co. GE employs more than 1,200 Purdue University alumni, including more than 400 at GE Aviation. GE Aviation leadership has met with Purdue officials to explore opportunities that will closely align the university to the new Lafayette facility.
“Purdue and GE are continuing to build a broad and strong collaboration in both research and talent recruitment,” said Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University. “In today’s world, a strong research university is the best economic magnet a state can have, and today’s announcement is a perfect example of that principle in action.”