BY THE NUMBERS: GE AVIATION
$3.5 billion to be invested worldwide in building and equipment improvements from 2013 to 2017
$350 million invested in Ohio from 2012 to present
$100 million new jet assembly plant announced March 2014 for West Lafayette, Ind.
2,442 jet engine deliveries in 2013 by GE and partners, expected to grow to 2,850 engines in 2016
34,000 commercial jet engines in flight today, projected to grow to 41,000 engines by 2020
44,000 employees worldwide
GE Aviation will invest more than $3.5 billion by 2017 to make building and equipment improvements at the jet engine maker’s various facilities worldwide, a majority of which will be spent in the United States, company officials said.
Included in the figures are plans announced Wednesday to build a $100 million jet engine assembly plant in West Lafayette, Ind., in collaboration with Purdue University.
The Evendale, Ohio-based jet engine maker said the Indiana investment represents the seventh new GE Aviation facility announced in as many years. Other new GE Aviation facilities announced in that time include sites in Batesville, Ms.; Auburn, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; Ellisville, Ms.; Dayton, Ohio; and Asheville, N.C.
It’s not clear if Ohio was in the running for the new manufacturing plant. When asked why GE Aviation selected Indiana and not Ohio for the new production location, spokeswoman Deborah Case said, “We remain committed to Ohio.”
One reason Indiana was chosen was the “cooperation with the state in being able to offer the technical support and incentives in order to make that a smooth transition and start-up,” Case said.
Another reason is “that connection with Purdue University and what they’re able to offer with their advanced manufacturing research,” she said.
GE Aviation officials have previously said that the company has increased its investment in its Ohio operations, and as this news outlet found, more than originally forecast. About $350 million has been spent since 2012 at its Evendale campus, Dayton-area suppliers, West Chester Twp. and Sharonville 3-D printing technology locations, and a site in Peebles.
EPISCenter opened in Dayton in 2013, a research facility in partnership with University of Dayton that studies electrical power systems (one of the seven facilities announced in seven years). Also GE Aviation Research Center was established in 2013 at the main Evendale campus in partnership with the University of Cincinnati Research Institute.
However, in 2013, GE Aviation also announced plans to build its first factory for mass production of composite materials near Asheville, N.C.
“GE Aviation’s commitment to Ohio, and specifically to our region, remains as strong as it has ever been,” said Lance Barry, spokesman for REDI Cincinnati, the region’s head development agency formerly known as Cincinnati USA Partnership.
“While this most recent announcement is out of our region, the impact of their continued growth will be felt here for years to come. A thriving GE Aviation means a thriving Cincinnati USA,” Barry said in an email.
This newspaper asked JobsOhio if the private state agency offered a tax incentives package to GE Aviation to lure the jet assembly plant.
“For competitive reasons we don’t discuss whether or not we’re in project discussions with companies,” said JobsOhio spokesman Matt Englehart.
Workers at the just-announced Indiana plant will assemble the new LEAP engine produced by GE Aviation joint venture CFM International. LEAP is an engine under development by CFM, a joint venture of GE and French company Snecma that’s headquartered in West Chester Twp. The fast-selling engine — more than 6,000 LEAP engines are on order to date — is set to be commercially launched in 2016.
The LEAP engine will be the industry’s first to contain 3-D manufactured parts and to contain composite matrix materials in the hot section, GE Aviation officials said. It will power the Airbus A320NEO, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 aircraft.
Currently, the LEAP engine prototype is undergoing testing. As the launch date approaches, production will begin when the Indiana facility opens in 2015, said Case, the GE Aviation spokeswoman.
More than 200 jobs are expected to be added in Indiana by 2020. Construction on the 225,000-square-foot built is planned to start later this year, Case said.
The LEAP engine will also be assembled at GE’s existing plant in Durham, N.C.
“Beginning in 2015, the LEAP engine will experience a dramatic production ramp-up for the remainder of the decade,” said David Joyce, GE Aviation president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Ohio’s largest manufacturing employer, GE Aviation makes commercial and military jet engines and parts. Jet engine deliveries are expected to grow from 2,442 in 2013, to about 2,850 engines in 2016 including those produced by CFM International.
GE and partners have about 34,000 commercial jet engines in flight today, which is projected to grow to 41,000 engines by 2020.
GE Aviation employs more than 9,000 people in southwest Ohio. Worldwide, the company employs approximately 44,000 people at more than 80 locations.