PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC -- GE Aviation held a special celebration at the U.S Ambassador's Residence in the Czech Republic on December 13 to recognize its H80 turboprop engine and its engine type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The celebration was attended by many dignitaries, including CzechInvest Chief Executive Officer Miroslav Krizek, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic Martin Kuba, Joe Pennington, Charge d'Affairs with the U.S. Ambassador office, GE Aviation President and Chief Executive Officer David Joyce, and GE Aviation's Vice President and General Manager of Business and General Aviation Brad Mottier. During the celebration, EASA Deputy Director Frederic Compigneaux presented the engine type certificate for the H80 engine to Paul Theofan, GE Aviation's President and Managing Executive of Business and General Aviation Turboprops.

"GE Aviation's investments in the Czech Republic show us where to direct our pro-investment measures. The aviation industry creates higher added value with a significant share of skilled labour, produces innovations that frequently find their use in various other sectors and, at the same time, demonstrates a dynamic export growth," said Martin Kuba, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

"Our aim in the CzechInvest agency is to help make the Czech aviation industry better known among leading international companies that tend to follow up their investment with other activities, including cooperative research projects and local supply chain development," said Miroslav Krizek, CEO of the CzechInvest agency. "GE Aviation sets an example for investors as a great asset to the Czech Republic. We are very happy that the company was able to use the expertise of local engineers in achieving certification of the new H80 turboprop engine."

"I congratulate the GE Aviation Czech team on developing the H80 turboprop engine and achieving EASA certification," said David Joyce, president and chief executive officer of GE Aviation. "This is truly a significant accomplishment and marks an important milestone for our turboprop business. Looking ahead, our vision is to position the Prague facility to be the Center of Excellence for GE's business and general turboprop engines and play a leading role in the global industry."

In honor of certification and celebration, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Necas, said, "The successful completion of the certification process of the H80 turboprop engine, the start of its serial production and the related technology transfer help boost the competitiveness of the Czech Republic. Final assembly of these aircraft engines is at the pinnacle of precision engineering and brings significant added value to the Czech industry," stated Necas.

GE Aviation acquired the intellectual property rights to what is now GE Aviation's Business and General Aviation Turboprops business in late 2007. Since that time, GE has invested millions in the GE Aviation Czech business and constructed new test cells at the Letnany location. The Czech Republic's Ministry of Industry and Trade awarded GE Aviation about $4 million USD (70 million CZK) in research grants to assist in the development of the H80 turboprop engine, which was derived from the M601 engine.

The H80 engine is the first GE engine to be manufactured outside the U.S. and the first GE engine to receive its initial type certification from EASA. Engineers from GE Aviation locations in the Czech Republic and United States collaborated with the Czech Aeronautical Research and Test Institute to incorporate sophisticated technologies into the H80 engine.

The new H80 turboprop engine combines the elegant, robust design of the M601 engine with GE's 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient, durable engine compared with the M601 engine. The H80 engine has been selected to power multiple applications, including the Aircraft Industries L410 commuter plane, Thrush 510G agricultural aircraft and Technoavia's newly designed Rysachok aircraft, a twin-engine, 10-seat general aviation aircraft. It is expected to enter service early next year on the Thrush 510G aircraft. Next year, GE Aviation Prague facility plans to produce more than 70 H80 engines with production levels growing to 150 engines a year over the next few years.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.