GE Aviation is expanding the scope and function for its new LEAP engine plant in Lafayette, Ind., adding $15 million to the $100-millon project it announced last March. The new plans will add machinery and equipment that will allow GE Aviation to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities for the engines, which are destined for installation in several of the new commercial aircraft being developed by Airbus SAS and Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 300,000-sq.-ft. plant is now under construction and plans call for it start production in January of 2016. GE Aviation said the additional MRO capabilities will mean total employment at the new plant will be 230 people by 2020. Hiring will begin next month.
The LEAP jet engine is a high-bypass turbofan design developed by CFM International, GE’s joint venture with French manufacturer Snecma CFM International. To date CFM International has more than 8,000 orders for the engines, which will be installed in the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX, and Commercial Aircraft Co. of China’s COMAC C919 aircraft. Each partner will manufacture the engines in its own operations, and in addition to the Lafayette plant GE Aviation is building LEAP engines at a plant in Durham, N.C.
Both plants will use parts and sub-assemblies supplied by GE and Snecma operations, and their suppliers around the world.
GE Aviation emphasized that the MRO functions will position the Lafayette plant for a pivotal role throughout the entire lifecycle of the LEAP engines.
“This decision is a testament to our commitment to Lafayette and the state of Indiana. Within a short time, this community has proven to be an invaluable partner and I know we’ll continue to be successful as we take on this additional work at the Lafayette site,” stated GE project leader Eric Matteson.