GE Aviation Wales will be the GE Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility for the world’s largest and most fuel-efficient jet engine, GE9X, following a package of Welsh Government support.
The announcement, which follows the First Minister’s meeting with GE executives in Washington DC, is accompanied by £20m of GE investment, that includes £5m from the Welsh Government.
The maintenance and repair of the GE9X will safeguard over 400 jobs at GE Aviation Wales. This news comes in addition to the site’s 2016/2017 recruitment activity to support growth relative to its current engine programmes.
The new facility will provide the technical lead and support to GE9X partners across the globe and place Wales at the cutting edge of the latest and greatest jet engine technology.
The First Minister welcomed news that the Nantgarw facility will lead the company’s global ‘Entry into Service’ readiness programme, describing the move as hugely significant in securing the future of the Nantgarw facility for the next generation and ensuring the site is at the forefront of important technology applications.
“I am delighted Welsh Government is supporting this very significant investment in one of our flagship operations. GE Aviation Wales is the largest aircraft engine maintenance facilities in the world and today’s announcement ensures it will maintain its position as the global centre of excellence for wide bodied jet engines that will now also include GE’s latest engine, the GE9X.
“As an Anchor company, GE Aviation is of huge strategic importance to the Welsh economy with a world class reputation and extensive experience and capability. It’s tremendously good news that this investment will strengthen its long-term sustainability, preserve the scale of the facility and ensure its on-going competitiveness.
“The aviation MRO facility has been in Nantgarw for 77 years and only recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of GE ownership so it is great news that the 9X will ensure GE Aviation remains at the forefront of the engine repair and overhaul sector for many years to come.”
The First Minister added that when he was in the States last year he had discussions about GE Aviation Wales’ selection as the global technical lead on the GE9X as well as potential new recruitment.
GE Aviation Wales Managing Director La-Chun Lindsay said:
“This is a great day for Wales and particularly for our communities across the Valleys. We’ve won this great accolade because we worked together as one ‘Team GE Aviation Wales’ on solving our site’s biggest problems and challenges. The key objectives now are for the site to sustain its cost competitiveness and to continue improving on customer delivery for both engine overhaul and component repair. I want all our customers to hear this great news and be delighted if their GE9X engines are coming to GE Aviation Wales for servicing.
“Over many years we’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the Welsh Government and their grant offer was also a key differentiator in ensuring Wales as the MRO shop and technical lead for the GE9X. We have a great history of support from our partners in the Welsh Government and at every stage of this process we have worked in lock step to secure the GE9X.
“More than 85% of our employees from the surrounding area and are thus firmly rooted in our local community. I’m so pleased that securing the GE9X means that future generations will have the chance to fulfil their dreams of working at GE Aviation Wales and will have the same fantastic opportunities that have existed throughout the site’s proud history.”
GE Aviation Wales has been selected based on its wealth of technical expertise and its track record of continuous improvement. By focusing on increased utilisation and productivity despite its 77 year old infrastructure, GE Aviation Wales is now cost competitive with several brand-new overhaul sites. The upshot of continued focus on increased utilisation and delivery is a projected increase in volume to the site enabling new recruitment.