GE Aviation announced Wednesday that it plans to build a $100 million jet-engine assembly plant in Lafayette, where up to 200 will be employed by 2020.
The plant would turn out GE's LEAP engine. Through a joint venture, GE already has 6,000 orders for the engine, the company said. The powerplant will be used in the Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC (China) C919 aircraft for airlines around the world, the company said.
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.
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 (compressor, combustor and high pressure turbine). The company says the news jobs will pay an average wage of $36 an hour, which includes both hourly and salaried positions, GE officials said.
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 an 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.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered General Electric Aviation up to $3,300,000 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 $1,000,000 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.