The orders and commitments received at the aerospace industry’s largest trade event from more than 30 airlines and airplane leasing companies extended GE Aviation’s orderbook by more than 1,700 engines.
That includes record orders for the fuel-efficient LEAP engine, which powers the Airbus A320neo family of single-aisle aircraft, as well as the new Boeing 737MAX passenger jets.
Another plus for Alabama: A320neo family aircraft are slated to enter the production line-up at Airbus’ manufacturing facility in Mobile.
EXPANDING ALABAMA FOOTPRINT
GE said that its growing advanced manufacturing footprint in Alabama will help support the strong demand for LEAP engines, which the company produces in a partnership with French aerospace giant Safran.
GE Aviation’s 300,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility in Auburn is the first of its kind to produce 3D-printed parts for commercial aircraft engines, already FAA-certified on the LEAP engine.
Since there are 19 fuel nozzles in every LEAP engine, GE Aviation has said the stage is set for large-scale, long-term production at the Auburn plant. It expects to make 40,000 of the fuel nozzles in Auburn annually by 2020.
“Alabama has a long history in aerospace and aviation, but the future looks even brighter thanks to cutting-edge projects like the one being carried out by GE Aviation in Auburn,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
Next year, two new GE Aviation facilities in Huntsville will begin production. GE Aviation is investing $200 million to build adjacent factories that will produce raw materials for ceramic matrix composite components, or CMCs, in its advanced engines.
The LEAP engine will include ultra-lightweight CMC turbine shields, able to withstand high temperatures.
Combined, GE Aviation’s Alabama facilities employ more than 200 people, a number that will rise as its manufacturing activities expand.
A report calculates GE’s total direct and indirect economic impact on the state at more than $492 million annually.