ASHEVILLE, NC — GE Aviation Asheville, the world leader in delivering Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) components for commercial aviation applications, celebrated the delivery of its 25,000th CFM International LEAP engine turbine shroud today.

Just five years after breaking ground, CMC production at the site is thriving. Shroud production rates for the LEAP program have more than tripled each year since the site opened. Today, these Asheville-produced shrouds have surpassed more than 1.5 million flight hours on the 800+ LEAP engines in commercial airline service.

The LEAP is the world’s best-selling jet engine with a current backlog of more than 15,500 engines — translating to over 300,000 shrouds for the GE Aviation Asheville team to produce.

CMCs are a super material that is as tough as metals, but only one-third as heavy and can operate at 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit — 500 degrees higher than the most advanced alloys. When incorporated in today’s commercial engine, CMC can save millions of dollars annually for airline fleets. A 1 percent reduction in fuel consumption can save more than $1 million a year for commercial air carriers. This next generation CMC material technology being produced by GE Aviation will improve fuel efficiency at 1 to 2 percent.

“It’s easy to see why GE Aviation is thriving here in Asheville,” said GE Aviation Asheville CMC Plant Leader Ryan Huth. “We have a terrific workforce culture that can adapt quickly to solve daily complex challenges. We also have a solid community relationship that supports growth in advanced manufacturing technology.”

Still, there’s more work on the Western Carolina horizon. In May, GE Aviation Asheville began delivering CMC components for the GE9X, the world’s largest commercial jet engine. With an 11-foot diameter, the GE9X can generate more than 100,000 pounds of thrust. By the end of 2018, GE Aviation Asheville will deliver five separate CMC parts for this engine, which is scheduled to enter service by the end of the decade on the Boeing 777X.

As the demand for CMCs has grown, so has the workforce at the site. In 2013, GE Aviation broke ground on the $126-million, 170,000-square foot Asheville CMC facility – just a short walk to its Rotating Parts plant. Around 340 employees were projected for the site five years ago. In March, GE Aviation Asheville announced an additional 131 employee, $105 million investment which could grow the workforce to approximately 555 employees.

“The high volume of hiring here will continue to increase through the end of 2020,” GE Aviation Asheville Senior Human Resource Manager Sarah Hall said. “There are various roles ranging from CMC Technicians to Ceramists, Engineers and Production Control. We have a self-directed workforce highly involved in the decision making of the site. Everyone contributes to the positive and motivating culture that we have.”

In just 10 years, GE Aviation has spent more than $1.5 billion to bring advanced CMC technology to market. Beyond GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna (NY), this investment includes four production facilities in Cincinnati, OH; Newark, DE; Huntsville, AL; and Toyama, Japan.

ABOUT GE AVIATION

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components, integrated digital, avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings and is part of the world’s Digital Industrial Company with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive.

ABOUT CFM INTERNATIONAL

LEAP engines are a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines and the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines.  For more information, visit us at www.cfmaeroengines.com or follow us on Twitter @CFM_engines.

Media contact: Nick Hurm                [email protected]             (513) 484-4450