by Dan Rafter
Thanks to a $100 million investment by GE Aviation, Lafayette, Ind., has just become a bigger player in the aviation industry.
GE Aviation, which manufactures jet engines and aircraft systems, is building a 225,000-square-foot, $100 million jet engine assembly facility in LaFayette. Workers at the facility will build the new LEAP engine of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of GE and Snecma in France.
The engine is already in demand. CFM has logged orders and commitments for more than 7,500 of the LEAP engines, even though the engine won’t enter into service until 2016. The engine will power new Airbus, A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 aircraft for airlines around the world.
The facility itself will have a positive impact on the Lafayette area.
“The Lafayette plant will contribute greatly to Indiana’s economy through high-paying jobs and new opportunities for our workforce,” said Indiana Sen. Dan Coats. “I am thrilled that GE Aviation has put its faith in Indiana.”
GE could begin hiring employees at the GE plant as early as 2015. Within five years, the workforce at the plant is expected to exceed 200.
These will be skilled jobs. The Lafayette facility will include an advanced assembly line that incorporates several new technologies, including automated-vision inspection systems and radio-frequency parts management to allow workers to easily find parts on the shop floor.
GE worked closely with the state of Indiana to select the Lafayette location. The state of Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the city of Lafayette and Tippecanoe County have all provided technical support and incentives to bring GE to the area. GE officials will work with Ivy Tech at Lafayette and Purdue University to help train the plant’s new employees. The company recently celebrated a ceremonial ground-breaking at the site of the plant.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says that it’s little surprise that GE chose Lafayette for its new plant. Indiana residents, after all, have a long history of taking on complicated manufacturing work, the governor said.
“Hoosiers have developed and built some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing technologies,” Pence said. “I know that Hoosiers have the skills needed to make these jet engines soar.”