FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 24, 2008
GOVERNOR BARBOUR TOUTS SKILLED WORKFORCE AS GE AVIATION DEDICATES NEW MISSISSIPPI FACTORY
BATESVILLE, Mississippi – Governor Haley Barbour touted Mississippi’s skilled workforce as GE Aviation on Thursday dedicated its new jet engine component factory near Batesville in northwest Mississippi.
“Today we realize the tremendous promise offered by this outstanding project since the initial announcement two years ago that it would be built in our state,” Governor Barbour said. “Now, skilled Mississippi workers are participating in some of the world’s most sophisticated manufacturing processes, holding good-paying jobs with a world-class company in an exciting growth business.
Formally called GE Batesville Composites Operation, the 300,000-square-foot facility will produce advanced composite engine components, which are unique in the aviation industry. GE Aviation, a General Electric Company business unit and world-leading producer of jet engines, employs more than 30 people in the new Batesville facility.
Based on current demand for its jet engines, GE anticipates the Batesville workforce will exceed 100 people within a couple of years. Batesville employees are being trained in team building and advanced manufacturing processes, with assistance from Northwest Mississippi Community College. The plant delivers its first components in 2009.
“Next year as the first of these unique, Mississippi-made composite jet engine components are delivered and placed into service by GE Aviation customers around the globe, we won’t just sit back and congratulate ourselves for making it happen; we will have raised the bar so much that we’ll have to work even harder to show the world Mississippi is a place where promise and progress are very real,” Governor Barbour said.
The facility will produce two composite parts for GE’s new and popular GEnx jet engine: fan platforms (installed between the engine’s front fan blades) and the fan case assembly, a large circular structure that encases the front fan. The fan platforms and fan case are made of carbon fiber and epoxy resin composite material.
The GEnx engine, which will power the Boeing 787 and 747-8 aircraft, is the world’s only jet engine with composite fan blades, composite fan platforms, and a composite fan case.
Since announcing plans in 2006 to locate in Mississippi, GE has worked closely with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Also, GE has teamed with Mississippi State University’s (MSU) College of Engineering, and its Raspet Flight Research Laboratory to demonstrate the manufacture of composite components. GE and MDA will continue to team at Raspet to develop new processes for manufacturing composites.
“This is a textbook example of how state government – linked with its universities – can team with private industry to create sophisticated manufacturing technologies and products with global impact,” said David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation. “Mississippi government and education leaders have been key in making this GE facility a reality.”
“GE Aviation’s opening has been much anticipated in the state,” said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Gray Swoope. “The jobs created at this advanced manufacturing facility will not only showcase the capability of Mississippi’s workforce, but will lead the state into the growing field of advanced composites.”
GE develops and produces the world's most advanced composite components for jet engines. Composite components provide greater durability and engine weight savings, which translate into better aircraft fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance and replacement costs. GE introduced composite fan blades to jet travel in 1995 with its GE90 engine on the Boeing 777. Composites are also used in GE's advanced military engines.
Buoyed by continuing sales success of GE90 and GEnx engines, GE’s composite production will grow in the coming years. The Batesville plant is also expected to produce other composite components in the future for GE’s newest commercial jet engines.
GE Aviation, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, generated revenues of $16.8 billion in 2007. The company also has the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them. GE Aviation also produces integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft.