GE Aviation plans to locate its new $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette, Indiana, creating up to 200 new jobs by 2020. The 225,000 square-foot Lafayette facility, the company’s first final assembly plant in Indiana, will assemble the new LEAP engine from CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma (Safran) of France.
CFM, which will enter service in 2016, has already logged total orders and commitments with airlines for more than 6,000 LEAP jet engines. It will power new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and China’s COMAC 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, which includes its compressor, combustor and high pressure turbine.
“We are thrilled by the airline industry’s enthusiasm for the new LEAP engine and its ground-breaking technologies,” said David Joyce, President/CEO of GE Aviation. “Beginning in 2015, the LEAP engine will experience a dramatic production ramp-up for the remainder of the decade. We are grateful to the entire Indiana team in ensuring that our Lafayette assembly plant will soon be up and running.”
Final assembly of the LEAP engine at the Lafayette facility will involve using components and sub-assemblies from GE and Snecma operations, as well as from their suppliers around the world. The 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.
“With a nod to our past and an eye on our future, Indiana is charting a path forward,” said Governor Mike Pence. “Indiana is a manufacturing state, with decades of experience in building the items that power our world. But we are also a state of innovation, developing the technologies of tomorrow. GE Aviation’s plans in Indiana fuse the two. By selecting Indiana for its new jet engine facility, the company gains a workforce skilled at both developing the big ideas and bringing them to life. From jet engines to medical breakthroughs, companies launch the next wave of new technologies in Indiana, confident that in a state that works, the sky's the limit.”
"Tippecanoe County eagerly welcomes GE Aviation, the fourth company to choose Park 350 for a significant industrial investment," said Tippecanoe County Commissioner John Knochel. "This is a company already renowned for successfully setting its sight on the future in global reach and technological advances. Now, it will pioneer an all-new aircraft engine with a 'made in Lafayette, Indiana' stamp, and supply it to commercial aircraft manufacturers around the world."
As an incentive, Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered General Electric Aviation up to $3.3 million in conditional tax credits and up to $332,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. In addition, the IEDC will provide the community with up to $1,350,000 in infrastructure assistance from the state's Industrial Development Grant Fund. The city of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County will consider additional incentives at the request of the Greater Lafayette Commerce.
The Lafayette facility will be GE’s fifth location in Indiana. The company employs nearly 1,700 Hoosiers across the state, including Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Terre Haute and Connersville. In addition, GE spends more than $440 million with suppliers in Indiana, helping support 1,500 supplier jobs in the state.