- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - GE Aviation is celebrating the opening of its new advanced composites factory near Asheville with a ceremony featuring state and local leaders.

The new 170,000-square-foot facility, which opened Wednesday, will be the first in the world to mass produce engine components made of advanced ceramic matrix composite materials.

A company statement says GE has begun hiring at the new plant. Within five years, the plant expects to employ more than 340 people.

The existing workforce at GE Aviation’s current machining operation in Asheville will make the transition to the components plant.

The new Asheville facility will produce an engine component to be used on the LEAP jet engine, which will enter service in 2016 and will power the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919.

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