ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A company that specializes in jet engines and aircraft system production plans to break ground this year on a parts factory near Asheville, N.C.
GE Aviation's new facility is being built next to an existing GE machining plant. The General Electric Co. unit says the new plant will produce engine components made of advanced ceramic matrix composite materials.
GE could begin hiring at the new plant as early as next year. Within five years, the workforce at the factory could expand to more than 340 people.
The new plant is part of a larger commitment by GE Aviation to invest $195 million across its North Carolina operations through 2017.
GE Aviation has more than 1,300 employees in North Carolina at sites in Asheville, Durham, West Jefferson and Wilmington.
The new factory in Asheville is subject to final approvals of incentives from North Carolina.
GE Aviation says ceramic matrix composite materials, known as CMC, are critical for its next-generation aircraft engines. The ultra-lightweight CMC material supports extremely high temperatures in the high-pressure turbine.
"Asheville would be our first factory involved in the mass production of CMC components. We believe the future Asheville plant will be on the ground floor of a new technology that will change aviation," said David Joyce, president and chief executive officer GE Aviation.
GE worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Commerce to secure the proposed Asheville location and investments in existing facilities.
To prepare for the new factory, GE will partner with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. The training program at the community college would allow current and prospective employees to train in a hands-on environment.