Workers at GE Aviation’s plant in Castle Hayne will be busy for the next several years, thanks to a second record-breaking year of orders for the company’s jet engines, including a flurry at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, outside London, England. The plant makes rotating parts for the engines.
Last year, CFM International
– GE’s joint venture with French engine maker Snecma – logged total orders of 2,723 engines worth more than $31 billion at list price.
Halfway through this year, the company already has taken orders for 2,071 CFM56 series and next-generation LEAP engines with a combined list value of about $25 billion, the company announced in a news release Sunday. Those engines will power both Boeing and Airbus aircraft, the release stated.
The engine orders come from an array of airlines, including Delta (15 engines), FlyDubai (75), Lufthansa (40), Turkish (15) and VietJet (21).
"2013 was a big year for us in so many ways and 2014 looks to be just as strong,” Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International, said in the release. "The LEAP engine continues to enjoy the highest order ramp up in commercial aviation history and we are still more than two years away from entry into service. At the same time, CFM56 engine orders are still solid. For us, this reinforces the industry’s confidence in this product and, more specifically, the way that CFM56 engines hold their value long term.”
As the company logs record commitments, CFM is also achieving historic production rates for the CFM56 product line, according to the release. The company delivered 1,502 CFM56 engines in 2013 and is on track to deliver 1,550 by year end 2014. This already represents the highest production rate in the industry, the release stated, but plans are already in place to reach more than 1,800 engines per year by 2020 as the company transitions from CFM56 to LEAP engine production.
To help the company reach those production goals, the Castle Hayne plant is due for a five-year, $63 million equipment upgrade as part of a major investment by GE Aviation to enhance jet engine production at manufacturing sites in North Carolina. The company also plans to create 35 new jobs at the plant.
In May 2013, New Hanover County commissioners approved an incentive package of $875,000 for GE Aviation. That amount was part of a package of incentives from local governments and the State of North Carolina to convince the engine maker to make a capital investment of $195 million and create 242 new jobs in the state.