AUBURN, Alabama – The Alabama aerospace sector is getting a lift from GE Aviation’s latest project – a $75 million facility making jet engine components in Auburn that will create as many as 400 jobs once it ramps up to full production.
GE Aviation says the 300,000-square-foot plant will produce precision, super-alloy machined parts for GE jet engines that will power future commercial and military aircraft. The Alabama plant’s products also will support the vast fleet of GE jet engines already in service.
The Auburn facility will manufacture high-pressure turbine airfoils and will deliver its first parts later this year.
“GE Aviation is thrilled to locate an advanced manufacturing operation in Auburn,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “The facility will be involved in highly sophisticated manufacturing processes. We are very grateful to the Alabama leadership in supporting GE on this important economic development project.”
GE Aviation said it selected Auburn for the project in large part because of its access to a skilled work force and its proximity to Alabama’s university system. GE has partnered with AIDT, the state’s workforce training agency, to develop pre-employment training programs for the facility. Southern Union State Community College, a member of the Alabama Community College System, will handle the machining portion of the pre-employment training. To develop a pipeline of young talent, GE has worked with Auburn University and Tuskegee University to create internship and co-op opportunities for students.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE, is a major player in the aerospace sector, generating revenue of $20 billion in 2012. It has the largest base of installed jet engines in commercial aviation and employs about 40,000 people at more than 80 facilities around the world.
GE Aviation invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion research and development programs. It says the new Alabama facility underscores its unprecedented growth, as production rates are expected to grow from 3,600 commercial and military engine deliveries in 2013 to more than 3,800 deliveries in 2014.
GE Aviation joins a long list of marquee aerospace industry names already operating in Alabama’s aerospace sector – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Airbus and others. Airbus is constructing a $600 million facility at Mobile Brookley Aeroplex to assemble its A320 family of passenger jets. (Mobile Brookley Aeroplex is positioned to become an anchor in the Gulf Coast’s growing aerospace corridor.)
Gov. Robert Bentley said the GE Aviation project signifies more growth for Alabama’s aerospace sector, which already employs more than 83,000 people.
“The opening of this facility will lead to more good jobs for the people of Alabama,” Governor Bentley said. “Alabama has the best workforce you can find, and our role in the aviation industry continues to grow. I appreciate the investment GE Aviation is making in Alabama. On the state and local levels, we are committed to helping GE Aviation succeed here in Auburn.”