GE Aviation Proposes Opportunity for Expansion in Asheville, North Carolina Area

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GE Aviation is supported by Asheville Economic Development through continued expansion efforts for Buncombe County advanced manufacturing organizations.

GE Aviation

Asheville Economic Development

The expansion will mean not only hundreds of jobs for our citizens, but position our community as a leader in the green economy.

According to the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), GE Aviation, a leading manufacturer of commercial and military jet engines, is planning a multi-billion dollar nationwide investment. The company aims to transform the jet propulsion industry with cutting edge technology, design and materials that will make GE Aviation jet engines the industry standard for productivity, while also reducing carbon footprint.

Buncombe County is one of four North Carolina counties poised to secure a total of $195 million in potential new statewide investment by GE Aviation to implement new technologies. A statewide announcement can be expected by summer 2013 following a series of coordinated, public economic development processes. Buncombe County and the City of Asheville have worked closely with GE Aviation to retain and expand local production capabilities to accommodate production of the revolutionary aircraft engine material known as Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC). This development would bring a company investment of $126,000,000 in new, taxable machinery and equipment, and require the addition of 52 new positions to its current workforce of 300 in a new flagship facility in Sweeten Creek Industrial Park.

A thorough nationwide review of 12 states was conducted before GE Aviation decided to develop and implement its multi-year product and workplace transformation in Western North Carolina. Considerations prior to GE Aviation’s decision included strong historical performance, requisite workforce and optimum logistics to support the new strategic product direction. The official announcement anticipated later this summer will cap a 70-year legacy for Western North Carolina’s only “Fortune 10” manufacturer and ensure its continued expansion for future generations. The company formerly operated as NCI and Smiths Aerospace before acquisition into the GE family in 2008.

Ceramic Matric Composites (CMCs), said to be the backbone for the next generation of jet engines, was developed by the pioneering efforts of GE Aviation. The materials can outperform advanced metallic alloys and make jet engines lighter, more fuel efficient and cut emissions dramatically. Research validates that a jet engine constructed using CMC materials can reduce fuel consumption by 15%, resulting in annual fuel savings of over $1 million per plane. Aircraft powered by GE jet engines take flight every two seconds around the world, with demand for CMC components anticipated to increase tenfold over the next decade.

“We are excited about the opportunity for Asheville to become the manufacturing center for this groundbreaking technology,” said Michael Meguiar, Asheville Plant Leader for GE Aviation. “It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in our local workforce and demonstrates the great potential for our area to be integrally involved in the new technology.”

“This milestone opportunity to participate in one of the most innovative industry transformations in decades inspired us to compete wisely to cement Asheville as a hub of high-tech advanced manufacturing.” stated EDC Board Chairman Paul Szurek. “We believe this potential expansion will have a generational impact.”

“I’m proud to see Buncombe County seize this moment in our national economy, supporting a long-time local employer and one of the nation’s largest corporate citizens,” said David Gantt, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “The expansion will mean not only hundreds of jobs for our citizens, but position our community as a leader in the green economy.”

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy noted, “Our work with GE Aviation is exemplary of the partnership of good business with good governance. It is always an honor for Asheville to be recognized as a leader within the business world. I wish Michael Meguiar and the entire team at GE Aviation continued success in growing its business.”

This proposed investment in GE Aviation’s facility and equipment would generate $1.2M annually in new city and county property tax receipts. Following successful conclusion of the statewide public process, without which the project will not move forward, the new manufacturing facility will sustain over 750 direct, indirect and induced local jobs, $34M in annual income, and another $4.3M in annual state and local taxes essential to the fiscal health of our region. For more information on GE Aviation and employment opportunities, please visit

The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) for Asheville- Buncombe County is a public-private partnership dedicated to generating and retaining high quality professions, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions. The Economic Development Coalition achieves this mission through its four primary services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Town of Weaverville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5x5 Campaign.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,800 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to a 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes over 195,000 visitors per year.

For more information visit the Asheville Economic Development website or 'like' us on facebook

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Laura Johnson
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