GE Aviation is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Woodward Inc., a Colorado company, to design, develop, produce, and service fuel system and critical component parts for large commercial jet engines.
The two companies will have identical equity positions in the venture, which has not been named. In addition, Woodward will be the venture’s preferred supplier.
GE Aviation noted this venture is in line with its strategy of partnering with major suppliers of critical component parts, “to ensure a stable supply chain to manage production volume growth.” Other such ventures include partnerships with Aircelle, BAE/Sagem, NCK, Parker Hannifin, Safran, SKF, and Turbocoating SPA.
Woodward will receive $250 million in cash in advance of starting production, and both companies will participate jointly in the operating results. While there are regulatory approvals to be secured, the joint venture is expected to be in operation during this year.
Specifically, the new venture will develop and manufacture fuel systems and relevant components — from the fuel inlet up to the fuel nozzle — for the GE90, GEnx, GE9X and all future large commercial engines developed by GE Aviation.
The GE90 is a series of high-bypass turbofan jet engines designed and built by GE Aviation for the Boeing 777, a wide-body, twin-engine commercial aircraft. It is the world’s largest turbofan engine, and its design is the basis for two smaller engines, the GEnx and GE9X, which are supplied to Boeing for its 787 Dreamliner commercial jet and 747-8. The latter is a four-engine aircraft, used for passenger and cargo service.
“The fuel systems are a key component to GE’s advanced technology aircraft engines, and Woodward has a strong reputation in fuel systems development and manufacturing,” stated GE Aviation president and CEO David Joyce. “The joint venture will further strengthen both companies’ capabilities and secure a high-quality fuel systems supplier for GE’s record production volume on large commercial engines.”
With airlines and aircraft leasing companies booking orders to replace aging jet fleets, and to expand to serve increased demand, GE Aviation has increased production rates for jet engines and components by a significant margin over the past five years. The company states its total production of large commercial engine this year will be close to 500 units. It also noted it has a backlog of more than 1,600 engines like the GE90, GEnx and GE9X, the high production rates will continue well into the future.
“This deal formalizes and strengthens the long-standing relationship between Woodward and GE and captures significant content on the new GE9X,” stated Woodward chairman and CEO Tom Gendron. “We believe the joint venture structure will leverage both company’s respective strengths and optimize fuel system performance.”