GE Aviation opened of its new $75 million jet engine components factory in Auburn, Alabama that is expected to eventually create more than 300 jobs in the region. The 300,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing plant will produce precision, super-alloy machined parts for GE jet engines that will power future commercial and military aircraft, and also support the vast fleet of GE jet engines already in service.
The company said by the end of 2013, GE expects to hire 50 employees. Based on current demand for its jet engines, GE expects to hire 300 to 400 people when the plant is at full ramp-up later this decade.
The Auburn facility will manufacture high-pressure turbine airfoils. The plant will deliver its first parts later this year. As the facility continues to ramp up production, it is expected that the Auburn facility will contribute to every commercial jet engine family produced by GE Aviation.
GE Aviation said it selected Auburn in large part because of its access to a skilled workforce and its proximity to Alabama's university system. GE partnered with Alabama Industrial Development Training to develop pre-employment training programs. Southern Union State Community College does 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.
The city of Auburn also extended tax incentives that will assist the company in purchasing equipment.
"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."
"The opening of this facility will lead to more good jobs for the people of Alabama," Gov. Robert 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."
"We couldn’t be more excited as GE Aviation opens their doors, providing skilled jobs to our community and a tremendous investment in Auburn and Alabama," said Auburn Mayor Bill Ham. "I look forward to a longstanding relationship with GE Aviation, and I'm excited that jet engines throughout the world will have parts that are made in Auburn."
The new Alabama facility underscores the unprecedented growth of GE Aviation, where production rates are expected to grow from 3,600 commercial and military engine deliveries in 2013 to more than 3,800 deliveries in 2014, the company said. Compared to the past five years, GE's investment across its more than 50 operations in the U.S. will more than double, including a new manufacturing operation in neighboring Mississippi. GE Aviation employs approximately 17,000 workers in manufacturing in the U.S.