(From left to right) Congressman Todd Rokita, Senator Joe Donnelly, Commissioner John Knochel, Tony Aiello, Vice President & General Manager, Assembly, Test and Overhaul, GE Aviation, Governor Mike Pence, Mayor Tony Roswarski, Senator Dan Coats and President Mitch Daniels.
LAFAYETTE, IND. – July 21, 2014 – GE Aviation, a global leader in jet engines and aircraft systems, hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking today for a new $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, Indiana.
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.
Launched in 2008, the LEAP is now undergoing development testing. 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 do final assembly for the engine as well as the engine’s hot section (compressor, combustor, high-pressure turbine).
Final assembly of the LEAP engine at the Lafayette facility will involve using components and sub-assemblies from GE and Snecma operations and from their suppliers around the world. The LEAP engine will also be assembled at GE’s existing engine assembly plant in Durham, North Carolina.
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 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. Over the past five years, GE has financed more than $2.5 million in research and development projects at Purdue.
GE Aviation leadership has met with Purdue officials to explore opportunities that will closely align the university to the new Lafayette facility. Purdue University is widely recognized as a leader in manufacturing technology, and GE intends to use the new facility as a catalyst for identifying talent and research capability.
GE Aviation and its partner companies have the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE and its partner companies have about 34,000 commercial jet engines in service, and that will grow to 41,000 engines by 2020. GE Aviation employs approximately 44,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities worldwide.
By the end of 2013, GE Aviation’s multi-year backlog for equipment and services reached $125 billion, more than a 20 percent growth in one year. Emerging markets continue to drive growth, with international orders representing 75% of this backlog.
“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.”
GE Aviation invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion research and development programs. This long tradition of commitment to new technology has helped GE maintains 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. For more information, visit us at www.geaviation.com
Reaction from state and local leaders:
Governor Mike Pence
"Hoosiers have developed and built some of the world's most advanced manufacturing technologies," said Governor Mike Pence. "GE Aviation is breaking ground today in a state with a rising reputation for aviation and aerospace innovation. I witnessed many of these technologies last week at the Farnborough International Airshow on our jobs mission to the United Kingdom, and I know that Hoosiers have the skills needed to help make these jet engines soar. GE Aviation will soon take off in Indiana, and their future looks bright here."
Senator Dan Coats
“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.”
Senator Joe Donnelly
"I am pleased to be a part of GE Aviation's groundbreaking of their new jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette today because this facility is great news for the Greater Lafayette area, bringing new jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers. Soon, workers will be assembling the new LEAP engine, and I am proud that the facility will have strong ties to Purdue and Ivy Tech, creating a pipeline for first-rate, homegrown talent. We take pride in making things in Indiana, and this new GE Aviation facility represents another important investment in Hoosier workers and innovation,” said Senator Joe Donnelly.
Congressman Todd Rokita
“As an aviator myself, I welcome the aviation industry’s growth in our state. I know GE Aviation to be the high water mark in commercial aviation. We simply couldn't ask for a better new neighbor,” said Congressman Todd Rokita.
Mayor Tony Roswarski
“We are proud to be a partner with GE Aviation for this next generation of aircraft engines. The LEAP engine is on the leading edge of innovation from one of our country’s most storied and iconic companies with a global presence. Greater Lafayette has a long history of innovation, invention and manufacturing and we are building on that today with this new plant and technology that will raise our global profile as well.” Mayor Roswarski adds, “The commitment in jobs and investment that GE is making is significant and will help raise our community’s standard of living and quality of life. This is a top priority of mine and especially gratifying.”
President Mitch Daniels
“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.”