General Electric Aviation, or GE Aviation, opened its first manufacturing facility in Alabama Monday morning.
"It's a great day in Auburn," said Mayor Bill Ham at the beginning of the event.
GE Aviation announced that it would build a plant in Alabama just over two years ago. The plant will employ 50 people before the end of 2013, and as many as 400 by 2023.
Governor Robert Bentley participated in the ribbon-cutting of the plant. He said making the pitch for Alabama as a locale for businesses, especially manufacturers has gotten easier because the results are so impressive.
"The best place to bring a plant anywhere in the world is to Alabama and that's what we try to do. We try to sell the state of Alabama" Gov. Bentley said.
The plant will manufacture products and parts that will go inside jet engines designed for the military as well as commercial aircraft made by aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus.
"When I went to Toulouse, France, the talk was about how Alabama is the best place for the aviation industry," said Rep. Mike Hubbard, who is Alabama's Speaker of the House and represents most of the City of Auburn.
Alabama has seen a significant aviation industry boom over the past two years. Airbus, the European aviation giant, announced and broke ground on its multimillion dollar jet assembly plant. The Airbus US Assembly Line Mobile will be the company's first facility in the United States.
GE Aviation holds its own strong position in the industry. The Auburn plant is one of two dozen plants across the country as the company works to keep up with demand.
"There are currently 30,000 GE engines in the sky" said GE Aviation President and CEO, David Joyce. "In the next ten years we expect that to jump to 46,000."
Joyce continued and said that he said it was a "high probability" that GE Aviation would expand its Auburn operation further after ten years.
"We're in this for the long haul" Joyce said.
Some of the 50 or so jobs have already been filled but more will be posted and filled before the end of the year. Potential applicants can find the information at AIDT.edu and GE.com.
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